A mum has been jailed after her three-year-old son was found wandering the streets, naked and covered in faeces.
In what a judge said was ‘a harrowing incident’ the woman who found the boy told police he ‘kept wandering in and out of the road’ as she went to his aid.
When she asked him where his mother was he told the woman ‘she always goes to sleep’ so she called the police.
He was then taken to his nearby home by the mother who had come out to find him. But when officers and social services later went to the address they found him asleep, covered only in a coat and lying next to a box of vomit on his bed.
The authorities also came across diarrhoea on the landing of the property in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, and the child’s mother was arrested and charged with child neglect.
Jailing her for six months at Derby Crown Court, Judge Jonathan Bennett said: “The incident itself is a harrowing one. “The woman was with her own little boy when she then meets your little boy that is covered in faeces.
“He was completely lost, had no clothing on whatsoever and appeared to her to have no road sense.
“The little boy said to her ‘can I come with you? I need help’ and she sensed the boy was in danger.
“She had to help him, he was in a dreadful state and was exposed to tremendous danger.
“I accept that you were in an abusive relationship at the time and that you had your hands full but the duty of the court is to protect the most vulnerable people in our society and this little boy was particularly vulnerable.”
Abigail Joyce, prosecuting, said the offence took place in March last year. Due to reporting restrictions the woman cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child. Miss Joyce said: “The woman said he was very skinny, pale, completely naked and he had faeces on his arms and legs.
“She said it was like he had been lying in his own poo.” Miss Joyce said the boy approached the woman and her son and said to her ‘can I come with you? I need help’.
She said: “She asked him where his mother was and he replied ‘she always goes to sleep’.”
The police were called and the authorities went to the house where the boy had been taken back to his nearby home by his mother. Miss Joyce said:
“They found the boy, who had since been cleaned, asleep on a bed next to a box of sick. He was covered in a coat but had no clothes on.”
The child’s mother was arrested and pleaded guilty to one count of child neglect.
Emma Covelly, mitigating, said: “She accepts she was incapable of carrying out her duties as a mother at that time.
“But her position is now improved as she has got away from the controlling relationship she was in, although that does not absolve her of her duties.”
Speaking after sentencing, a spokesman for the NSPCC said: “This vulnerable little boy’s most basic needs were clearly not being met.
“No child should ever have to live in these appalling conditions.
“Thanks to a quick-thinking member of the public, a desperately sad situation has not been allowed to continue.
“This timely intervention shows the vital role communities play in preventing child neglect.
“Members of the public can report concerns to the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 in confidence. “Our trained counsellors are available 24 hours a day and can take action on your behalf.”