A ‘reckless’ mother who left her sick baby girl alone downstairs while she drank whisky and had sex, has avoided jail.
Yvonne Adkins left three-month-old Chanelle lying in her baby rocker in the lounge for nine hours while she went upstairs with a lover she had met at a bus stop just two weeks earlier, a court heard.
She awoke the next morning to find her baby dead and paramedics who attempted to revive the infant discovered she had been dressed only in a tracksuit and left without a blanket or bed clothes.
The judge told the 32-year-old she had made a ‘catastrophic decision’ to leave her daughter unattended – despite knowing she suffered with vomiting and reflux.
Sparing her jail, Judge David Fletcher added: ‘Your desire to engage in some sexual activity with someone you hardly knew resulted in you leaving your child downstairs when you knew it was not appropriate to do that.’
Prosecutor Andrew Easteal said the infant had been left her rocker on the evening of May 7, 2014, before a man, named only as Peter, came round to the house in Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, at 8.45pm.
‘He was someone she became acquainted with at a bus stop two weeks prior,’ explained Mr Easteal.
‘At 10pm the defendant and Peter went upstairs. The two had sexual intercourse and drank whisky and she fell asleep.
‘The defendant was well aware her three-month-old daughter suffered from reflux and vomiting and other complications.’
The court heard Adkins’ lover got up and went to work at 5am while she fell back to sleep.
She only discovered her daughter was cold and not breathing at shortly before 7.30am.
Paramedics were called but were unable to resuscitate the child and Chanelle was pronounced dead at 8.05am.
Mr Easteal added: ‘The paramedic noticed Chanelle was not dressed properly to go to sleep and was dressed in a tracksuit.
‘There had been no preparation for her to go to sleep that night.’
Full-time mother Adkins pleaded guilty to child cruelty and was handed an 18 months sentence, suspended for two years, with 18 months supervision.
Mr Fletcher told her: ‘You made a catastrophic decision that you will have to live with for the rest of your life.’
The court heard Chanelle suffered numerous health problems, including reflux and vomiting, since she was born on January 30, 2014 and was due to see a consultant the following month.
A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as a ‘sudden and unexpected death in infancy’.
Adkins, a former Alton Towers worker, had originally told the authorities that Chanelle had been sleeping in a Moses basket at the end of her bed. But she later admitted her daughter had been left downstairs in her rocker.
Nicola Bell, defending, said the defendant, who has no previous convictions, was not a mother who ‘consciously and consistently ignored the needs of her young child’.
She added: ‘She was reckless in her attention towards the child.
‘She prioritised herself momentarily over the child with devastating consequences.
‘This is a mother who has lost a child. She deals with that on a daily basis.’
A full inquest into Chanelle’s death will be heard next month.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has now launched a serious case review into the death to look at whether more could have been done to protect Chanelle.
Cllr Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education, said: ‘The circumstances of the baby’s death are tragic and our thoughts are with the family.
‘We view the death of any child in our city very seriously, and carry out serious case reviews when we have strong concerns as to how the death occurred.
‘A serious case review is already underway into the baby’s death.
‘It is being carried out independently so we can understand the circumstances of the death and the role responsible agencies have been able to play, as well as to identify how we can all learn from this deeply tragic incident.
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