A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy who ran out in front of a car on a cold wet day was being followed by his two-year-old sister who was wearing just a pair of leggings.
Blackburn magistrates heard the children’s dad had left the front door of their home open and their mother was in a drunken stupour having been drinking vodka.
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The court heard how the little girl was shivering and her bare feet looked red raw because of the cold.
Zoe Jane Elliot, 40, of Moorgate Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to two charges of child neglect. Brian Hall, 48, of the bail hostel on St Peter Street, Blackburn, was convicted after trial of two charges of child neglect.
Elliot was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for two years and made subject to community supervision for two years with a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement. She was ordered to pay £85 costs and £80 victim surcharge.
Elliot Hall was sentenced to 16 weeks in custody suspended for two years, community supervision for two years with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a six months' alcohol treatment requirement. He was ordered to pay £600 costs and £80 victim surcharge.
Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said a woman driving along Moorgate Street at 12.45pm saw two children running along the pavement towards St Aidan’s Avenue.
The girl was wearing nothing but a pair of leggings and the woman was so concerned she turned round and went back to check on them.
Another motorist, probation officer Sheila Chadderton, described the weather as really cold and either raining heavily or hail-stoning. She was wearing a thick winter coat and had the car heater on full in her car.
“She was driving towards St Aidan’s Avenue when she saw a little boy run into the road in front of her,” said Miss Allan.
“She stopped and looked towards the corner where the boy had come from expecting to see a parent. The little boy was standing in the middle of the road looking back to the corner and the little girl wearing just the leggings came into view.”
Miss Allan said Mrs Chadderton put the children into her car and she and the other driver provided a blanket and a cardigan to wrap the little girl.
“Both of them were soaked through from the heavy rain,” said Miss Allan.
“I dread to think what could have happened to them if the witnesses hadn’t been passing.”
She said when police went to the family home in Moorgate Street the front door was wide open and Elliott was in bed and clearly drunk.
She initially said she had drunk a bottle of vodka but then changed that to half a bottle. She said she didn’t know the children had walked out.
Richard Prew, defending Elliott, said she had pleaded guilty straight away and it had now been three long months since her children were taken off her.
“She is absolutely devastated by her own actions,” said Mr Prew.
He said that Elliot had voluntarily engaged with all the agencies that could assist her and had not touched drink since the incident.
“She is doing everything she can to co-operate with Social Services in an effort to get her children back,” said Mr Prew.
Angela Rossi, defending Hall, said he had also been drinking heavily at the time of the incident. When he left the house he believed the boy was upstairs in bed with his mother and the girl was in her bedroom.
“He knew there were problems with the lock on the front door and he should have made sure the children were safe,” said Miss Rossi.
“He knows that if he wants to have the children back in his life he has to put that life in order. He moved away because that was the first thing Social Services demanded. It is not ideal but if it helps the mother on her road to recovery he is happy to do it.”