Dad spared jail after second child neglect offence

Father was handed a suspended sentence despite it being his second child cruelty offence

A MAN who pleaded guilty to passing out drunk while caring for his two-year-old daughter – the second time he has admitted such an offence – has been spared jail.

The man – who we cannot name so his child is not identified – was handed a nine-month suspended sentence and a two year community order at Wood Green Court on Thursday.

The court heard how police had been called to his flat near Alexandra Palace on December 26 last year after neighbours raised concerns.

Prosecutor Gareth Underhill told the judge: “When police entered they were directed towards the flat where the defendant was found to be in a very deep sleep. They had difficulty rousing him and they smelt alcohol.

“On the bed where he had fallen asleep was his two-year-old daughter.”

The child has now been taken into care and the couple receive supervised visits.

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The court heard how this is the second time the man has pleaded guilty to such an offence.

In July 17, 2007 he left the child – then just seven months old – at 11pm, to meet his girlfriend in a pub a five minute bus journey away.

The couple returned at 1am to find police had been called by neighbours.

He pleaded guilty to wilfully neglecting or ill-treating a child in September of that year and received a community order and a 12 month supervision order.

Defending the man, Susan Meek told the judge that he had just that morning expressed his hope that this latest conviction would mean he would be able to access a domestic violence course he had been on the waiting list of for 18 months.

“There’s quite a significant level of support in place already,” she said.

“This shows his commitment to address his problems and to hopefully become a family again in due course.”

Sentencing the man, Judge Simon Carr expressed hope that he would receive the help he needs, adding: “I am sure you are under no illusion, this was a serious matter where, put in simple terms, you drank yourself into unconsciousness whilst having the care of a two-year-old child.

“In fact, the child suffered no injury, but that is more due to luck than anything else.

“However, I accept from everything I have read that you have at last recognised the seriousness of the position and have sought help with your clear drinking problem.

“I’m aware social services have removed the child from your care and it will be for them to decide whether she should ever be returned.”