Screaming Girl, Aged Three, Tied To Addict Dad

A Screaming three-year- old Swansea girl was tied to her heroin addict dad with a safety strap as he shot up in a city centre toilet.Thirty-one-year-old Peter Walsh pleaded guilty to child neglect at Swansea magistrates court yesterday.

Walsh, of Caergynydd Road, Waunarlwydd, was found with his daughter in the cubicle near the public toilets in Princess Way.

His daughter, Chloe, was screaming, the court heard.

Gareth Lloyd-Jones, prosecuting, said a voluntary worker had given evidence that he could hear crying and then a “screaming, wailing sound”.

The court heard that the child sounded as if she was “in trouble, and sounded distressed”. He could see the legs of a little girl who was saying something and there “didn’t appear to be anybody responding to her”.

Mr Lloyd-Jones said he noticed a syringe and “a little girl’s hand right next to it”. He became “very concerned for her, and whoever was in the cubicle with her”.

He shouted into the cubicle, received no response and then telephoned the police.

“Her distress was very upsetting for him,” said Mr Lloyd-Jones. The court heard that the police were told the girl said she had “hurt her finger”.

The girl was linked by a child safety strap to Walsh’s arm. Police noticed Walsh as “unsteady on his feet with his eyes glazed”.

Walsh told police the girl was “Okay, fine, she’s with her dad.” He was asked if he had taken anything and replied: “Five valium.”

Asked if he had taken anything else he said: “A £10 bag and a methadone script.” When cautioned after being arrested for child neglect, Walsh replied: “I disagree, she’s fine.”

His rucksack was searched and found to contain several unused hypodermic needles.

Walsh told police he had taken a gram of heroin by the time he was arrested, and said it was possible Chloe had pricked her finger on the needle.

The court heard Walsh suffers with Hepatitis C and Chloe was found to be free of the illness. Walsh admitted to police that he was “placing her at times in danger”.

Nicola Smith, in mitigation, said Walsh was still having some contact with his daughter.

She added: “He does accept that she was exposed to significant danger. It’s something he’s very distressed about.” Ms Smith said Walsh wanted to undergo rehabilitation. “His main priority is his daughter,” she said.

Magistrates said custody was the only suitable option and imposed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Walsh was also ordered to attend a drug abuse prevention programme.