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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Home alone boy said he'd be okay to look after himself, court told

A schoolboy left alone at home when his parents went on holiday to Spain told a court that he had assured them he would be all right looking after himself for a week.

Related: Couple left boy, 12, home alone while they went on overseas holiday, Carlisle court told

The boy, who was just 12 when his mother and stepfather left him in May last year, said he only learned that they were going away by “sneaking a look” at their Facebook messages a few days before they left.

And it was only “shortly before they actually went” that they told him a family friend would be looking in occasionally to make sure he was all right, he said.

The boy said that when they asked him how he felt about it he told them he did not foresee any problems.

The boy’s mother and stepfather, who are both in their fifties but cannot be named for legal reasons, have pleaded not guilty to a charge that they “wilfully assaulted, ill treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed him in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health” .

It is an offence which, the jury has been told, can cover “psychological suffering” just as well as other forms of abuse.

Prosecuting barrister Tim Brennand asked the boy whether, with the idea of spending a week at home alone being “clearly a big deal”, his parents had discussed arrangements for his care while they were away.

He said they talked about it only the night before they left their home near Penrith for East Midlands airport.

“They said there would be food for dinners and stuff and there would be contact numbers in case of emergencies,” he said.

“And if the worst came to the worst I could go and find people like the friend of mum’s who lived across the road from us.”

The boy said a long-standing friend of his stepfather popped in to see him for a brief conversation in the afternoons. He said he was not aware that the friend had ever stayed the night in the house with him.

But in evidence the friend said he had spent one night in the house, without the boy seeing him, after he and his wife became unhappy with the idea of the boy staying there by himself.

The trial continues.

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