A MUM who was drunk and asleep in bed – unaware her five-year-old son was walking the street alone at night – received a suspended prison sentence after she admitted a neglect charge.
When police found the boy at about 9.20pm he said he was looking for someone to play with.
District Judge Andrew Shaw, sitting at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold, said he accepted the 35-year-old mother from the Holywell area was not aware the child had left the house.
“You didn’t know he was out because, to a large extent, you voluntarily got yourself so drunk that you didn’t know where he was,” the judge told her. “You did not foresee that he might get out.”
Judge Shaw said she seemed to struggle to understand the fact that as the parent she had to “nurture them, support them, look after them and protect them.”
He told her: “They are not independent beings. It was your sole responsibility, your moral responsibility and your legal responsibility.
“You failed with that responsibility on this occasion because you got yourself in such a state that the child was allowed to wander into the street at risk of whatever knows what. You might speculate as to what might have happened to him.”
She received an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 12 months supervision, and £85 costs.
Gwyn Jones, defending, said: “She accepts she has put her own interests ahead of that of the children, but they must be her main priority now.”
The defendant was receiving help from the community alcohol services and a home detoxification programme was planned.
She knew if she did not comply with the court order then she would be back before the court and the consequences for her children would be great.
Social services had taken an interest in relation to the children, who remained in her care. They would remain on the “at risk” register until all the local authority concerns had been addressed.
“I anticipate they will continue to keep a very close eye on her,” Mr Jones told the court.
The court heard how on May 20 that North Wales Police received a call from a member of the public who had come across the boy who was alone and inappropriately dressed for the weather.
Prosecutor Matthew Ellis said officers attended and saw the boy standing between two parked cars without a jacket on. It was going dark and getting cold.
He was asked who was looking after him, and he replied: “Nobody, my mum is asleep upstairs.”
Officers went with him to his home address, the house was in darkness, he let himself in and went upstairs to try and wake his mother, but could not do so.
Police went upstairs, announced who they were, and found her in a dishevelled state. She was unsteady on her feet and slurring her words, clearly intoxicated and not in a fit state to look after a young child, he said.
The mum was not co-operative with the police, did not like them speaking to her son and at that stage said to the tot: “What have I taught you?”
She threatened the police would take him away, that scared the boy, who had to be re-assured by the officers.
The boy’s father was contacted and he attended to take care of him because of the mother’s state.
At that stage the boy’s brother returned home, did not seem surprised at the condition his mother was in, and he started to make food for the boy, who said he had not eaten since the morning. He heated food for him and took him upstairs away from the situation, taking on the primary caring role, explained Mr Ellis.
She said the boy had been out with his father until 5.30pm, said she cooked a dinner but drank a large bottle of wine. She said she had been drinking all afternoon and put herself as “nine” on a one to 10 drunkenness scale.
Interviewed, she said she had done some housework and prepared a school uniform, said the youngest son had received food and had been bathed, and she had put him to bed at 8.30pm.
She said she then slept and the next thing she remembered was speaking to the police who had found him in the street.
The door had not been locked, she said.