A Prestatyn mother-of-three whose children live in ‘virtually uninhabitable’ conditions has escaped an immediate jail sentence.
Llandudno magistrates heard there were discarded drug syringes, dried splattered blood and the smell of rotten food, faeces and cigarettes at the house.
The 39 year-old woman, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to three charges of neglect against the children, all under the age of ten. An arrest warrant was issued for the children’s father, who is said to be seriously ill in hospital.
Prosecutors told the court that one of the father’s stepbrother was first to alert police – he had arranged for the mother to be taken to hospital after finding her ill in bed.
When officers entered the house wearing body cameras, they found broken glass and soiled cot bedclothes among other things – as they moved between rooms in near darkness. They also had to tread on rubbish bags as they moved around the house. The lead prosecutor, James Neary, said the children would have also found their way round the building without any lights.
The mother spent six weeks recovering from septicameia – she told police that she had been unwell for a fortnight before Christmas. Her condition had deteriorated to the point where she could not get out of bed. After being shown photos and video of the living conditions, she became upset and admitted she should have gone to hospital sooner and ensured the children’s care.
The court was told that all three children had not been affected by the experience and were given the all-clear by doctors and social workers.
The mother’s defence argued that she was being prosecuted on the basis of what might have happened, because the children had not been adversely affected. She had not been well enough to look after herself or the children. Upon her release from hospital, she had been free of drugs.
Sentencing the mother, chairman of the bench Paul Kinsey said the children in the case had been put at high risk and only a custodial sentence was justified because the charges were so serious.
The woman was given a 16 week jail sentence suspended for a year. She must also be tested for drugs and pay £120 in court costs and an £80 surcharge. The father, who was issued an arrest warrant, also faces similar charges of neglect.