Woman faces jail after children suffered years of cruelty

A WOMAN who subjected two children to appalling neglect has been warned she faces jail for inflicting a lifetime of cruelty upon them.

From birth, the young brother and sister, who cannot be named, were subjected to “appalling” care, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard yesterday.

Neighbours in their Edinburgh suburb often found the pair wandering the streets late at night. On two occasions, neighbours fed them after they complained that they were hungry.

When the boy was four, he needed to have eight of his 20 rotting teeth removed because the woman had fed him “too many sweets”. One night he was found asleep on a grass verge, soaked in his own urine.

It also emerged that the children were sexually abused by an uncle, who has been convicted at the High Court.

Sobbing in the dock with her head in her hands, the 28-year-old woman was warned yesterday that she faces jail for willful neglect, abandoning and exposing the children to unnecessary suffering or injury.

She also admitted exposing them to drug use, failing to adequately clothe or feed them and letting both leave the house unsupervised for hours.

The brother and sister, now aged nine and 11 respectively, are living permanently with a foster family.

Yesterday, the woman’s defence agent, Simon Collins, claimed she was forced into hiding when a transcript of an interview she gave to police “fell into circulation” in her neighbourhood. He admitted that for the year she was addicted to heroin, she was often “not even in a position to look after herself”, not to mention the children.

Fiscal depute Melanie Ward read out a catalogue of neglect dating back to each child’s birth, during which the woman, who was handcuffed to a Reliance officer throughout, sobbed and shook her head.

Miss Ward said social workers were involved throughout the children’s lives. But they had to step in to remove the children from the woman’s home when the four-year-old boy began acting strangely in nursery.

During a trip to the dentist, a charge nurse filed a report stating it was “unacceptable” that surgeons had to remove eight of his teeth.

The woman was remanded in custody for background reports and will be sentenced in December.