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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Carlisle mum jailed for child neglect

A mum whose abandoned four-year-old daughter was heard pleading for food and drink after being locked in a room has been jailed.

Worried neighbours raised the alarm and called police after hearing the little home alone girl shouting that she wanted out.

It was so warm on the day in question that one told officers that they wouldn’t have left a dog without a drink. Details of the heartbreaking case were outlined to a court as the youngster’s mother was sent to prison for 150 days.

Sophie Eva Ritson, 21, admitted neglecting and abandoning her daughter on July 25.

North Cumbria Magistrates’ Court heard her daughter had to be rescued by police after being left in a bedroom for more than three hours while her mum went into Carlisle city centre.

Diane Jackson, prosecuting, told how officers also found that her potty was nearly full and the room was sparsely decorated with bare floorboards exposed.

She said a neighbour had heard the girl shouting “I want to come out” from an upstairs room and later “I’m hungry. I need a drink”.

Another neighbour revealed she had spotted Ritson, of Osborne Avenue, off Wigton Road, Carlisle, with her partner in the city centre at about 1pm.

The police were called and officers had managed to open the kitchen window in an attempt to rescue the girl as Ritson finally returned home at around 4pm.

When asked by police officers why she had left her daughter, Ritson said that she “needed to be by herself”.

She also claimed that before she left the house her daughter was given a drink and that she was locked in the house for her own safety.

She added: “I don’t know what I was thinking. Her attitude stinks. She is crying all the time.”

Ritson is allowed to be named after the News & Star successfully challenged a court order that would otherwise have banned her from being identified.

Laura Harper, defending, said her client had received a lack of support since having her daughter.

“Sophie doesn’t attempt to minimise what she did that day. She didn’t feel as though she could go to anyone to talk to about child problems,” she said.

Sentencing, District Judge Gerald Chalk condemned what the mother had done.

He said: “I take the view that this is so serious that custody is my only option.

“Parents know the pleasure of having children but also the commitment of looking after that child properly. But you chose to abandon her for several hours.”

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