Woman Fined For Neglecting Child

A woman has been fined after leaving a four-year-old alone in a locked flat surrounded by ashtrays, a cigarette lighter and empty vodka bottles. Perth Sheriff Court heard the child was spotted crying at a window by a passer-by who alerted a neighbour.

On Wednesday Michelle Robertson, 24, admitted wilfully neglecting the child by leaving him at a house in Newhouse Road, Perth, while looking after him. Robertson’s solicitor said she had learnt a “salutory lesson”.

The court heard that Robertson and two other people had left the house, leaving the boy on his own. Fiscal depute Hannah Kennedy said: “A neighbour could hear the child crying from within the house. “He was at the window next door. She saw there was a male in the garden and he was indicating the child was upset.”

Mrs Kennedy said the female neighbour managed to speak to the boy through the letterbox and persuaded him to look for house keys. He brought a handbag to the door and found keys inside which he passed through the letterbox to the neighbour.

Mrs Kennedy said the boy was in the house alone for 45 minutes to an hour and added: “The child was upset. There were empty vodka bottles, ashtrays and a cigarette lighter in the living room.”

The court heard it was Mrs Kennedy’s sister who eventually reported her to the police following the incident on 10 February last year. Defence solicitor John McLaughlin said the incident had given Roberston a “shake”.

He said she had gone out for a “breath of fresh air” following an argument with her boyfriend and thought he was with the child.  “Her remorse is genuine. She has no doubt about the serious nature of it,” he added.