Masterton home-alone mum sentenced

By Don Farmer


The young mother of a toddler who wandered into the street at night after being left home alone has been sentenced and granted permanent name suppression.

Judge Tony Walsh sentenced the 27-year-old woman in the Masterton District Court yesterday. She pleaded guilty to leaving a child under 14 alone without proper care or supervision, and was sentenced to six months' supervision and ordered to undergo alcohol and drug counselling.

The judge agreed to suppress her name indefinitely to protect her 3-year-old daughter.

The court heard the woman put the girl to bed about 7pm on June 26 and, after the child fell asleep, left the house to go drinking at a friend's house, 1.6km away. She had intended to be away about half an hour but had stayed much later. After 10pm, the girl awoke and searched the house for her mother.

Not finding her, the child managed to open the front door and, wearing her pyjamas and socks, stepped outside.

The temperature was only 3C and the girl left the property, later being spotted on the road by a passer-by who phoned police.

The 3-year-old could not tell police her surname but managed to point out the house she lived in, which was empty when police knocked.

The girl's mother was later seen "staggering up the road, intoxicated".

Judge Walsh accepted a plea from the woman's solicitor Frank Minehan that supervision was appropriate.

He said the woman had no previous convictions and he had read a letter from the woman and one from her church pastor.

"What you did put your daughter at risk," Judge Walsh said.

"If she had come to harm you would have had to live with that for the rest of your life."

He said Child, Youth and Family and the girl's grandparents had been involved in caring for her since the incident.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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