Brecon mother, 20, jailed for leaving baby home alone

A mother has been jailed for 15 months for leaving her baby daughter at home alone every day for a week while she went out drinking.

The woman, 20, of Brecon, Powys, admitted neglect of the 15-month old while she went out at Christmas.

Neighbours raised the alarm when they heard cries, Merthyr Crown Court heard.

Judge John Curran said: “You may have gone back to the house on occasions but the fact is you neglected her for a very long time.”

The court heard how the woman left the girl in the cot and would go home every day to give the baby breakfast cereal and a microwave meal before going back to a friend’s flat to continue partying.

Prosecutor Michael Hammett said that police officers alerted by neighbours found the house to be cold and dark, and with all its rooms in a mess.

“The house was in a state of disarray with rubbish, dirty clothes, empty wine bottles, beer cans and dirty nappies strewn over the floors,” he said.

“One of the officers went into the bedroom and found the little girl subdued in her crib.

“There was no heating on in the house and she was partly covered by a blanket.”

Mr Hammett said the officers took the girl to the nearby police station to be cleaned up and fed.

“When they gave her food and drink she grabbed them as if she had been starved,” she said.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police she had been back to the house on four occasions to feed the child but then left her home alone again.

When police entered the mother’s home in Brecon, Powys, the girl had been on her own for more than 24 hours, the court heard.

She was examined by a doctor and found to have severe nappy rash which was bleeding.

The single mother admitted neglect and wept as she was jailed for 15 months.

Geraint Jones, defending, said: “The mum hopes to rebuild her relationship with her little girl very slowly when she leaves prison.”

Passing sentence, Judge John Curran said: “You may have gone back to the house on occasions but the fact is you neglected her for a very long time.

“Your daughter was left in the dark and cold, she was hungry and thirsty and had not been changed for days.”

Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “It’s extremely depressing that a mother could leave a baby alone, in a cold house, with no food or water for such long periods.

“But sadly child neglect is an all too common occurrence with around 21,000 children currently on a the child protection register in Britain for this very reason.”

He said thankfully the neighbours raised the alarm, which showed the need for vigilance.

“The message to anyone worried about a child is clear: don’t wait until you’re certain – call the NSPCC or social services without delay,” he added.

Des Mannion, NSPCC National Head of Service for Wales, added: “Last year 1265 children in Wales were subject to a child protection plan because they were at risk of harm from neglect and it has been the top reason why children are subject to such measures for the last five years.”