A toddler naked apart from a soiled nappy climbed out of a living room window while his drug-addled mother was unconscious on the sofa with a syringe nearby, a court has heard.
Sending the mum to prison, a judge told her she had put her need for drugs ahead of the welfare of her son.
Swansea Crown Court heard police were called to the woman’s house by concerned neighbours.
Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said neighbours reported seeing a toddler “hanging out of the window” of a nearby property.
The court heard that for some 30 minutes the youngster was seen playing at the open window, climbing through it, and standing on the outside window sill before clambering down from the window and playing in the garden, Wales Online reports.
The boy, who was aged just two, later climbed back into the living room using a garden chair that was under the window.
Mr Scapens said police arrived at the house in Swansea and through the window saw the boy’s mum unconscious or asleep on the sofa in the living room.
They tried to rouse her but to no avail. Eventually it was her son who brought his mother around by repeatedly hitting her in the face and shouting her name.
When she opened the door to the police the mother – who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child – said to the officers: “Hiya. All right? How are you?”
The prosecutor said police quickly formed the opinion she was under the influence of drink or drugs.
Inside the house the officers found a syringe of heroin “which had been prepared ready for administering”, a piece of foil containing heroin residue, and cannabis in a grinder.
As the woman was being handcuffed police found she had six Valium tablets in her hand.
The court heard that one of the officers stepped outside to call social services and when he returned to the house the boy approached him, called him “Daddy”, and asked to be picked up.
Mr Scapens said the youngster was “confused about the adults in the property”.
The woman, who is aged in her 20s, pleaded guilty to child neglect, and to possession of heroin, cannabis, and Valium.
The court heard the woman had a long-standing drug problem and a history of offences committed to fund that habit. However she has refused to work with drug and other agencies to address the problem.
Her son is now living with a family member and is said to be “flourishing” in his new environment.
Andrew Evans, for the defendant, said his client had a difficult upbringing and had lacked positive role models in her life.
He said the boy was now living with a “responsible and appropriate person” and his client accepted that description could not be applied to her at the moment.
He added that the woman had “reached rock bottom”.
Judge Peter Heywood said the toddler could easily have fallen from the window and suffered serious injury – or even made his way from the un-gated garden onto the road and been hit by passing traffic.
Addressing the defendant he said: “You were intoxicated through having taken controlled drugs.
“Your drug addiction was your prime concern, not the care of your child which should have been the most precious thing in your life.”
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He added that sentencing the woman to community order would be setting her up to fail because “you are not motivated to do anything about your drug addiction”.
The woman was jailed for a total of four months and will serve half that time in custody before being released.
Speaking after the sentencing, a spokesman for NSPCC Cymru said: “The child in this case was living in the most appalling conditions where the mother was apparently more concerned about drugs than the welfare of her son.
“Young children are entirely reliant on adults to care for them and we hope the victim of this appalling neglect is now receiving the care and support he needs.
“Sadly, neglect is the most common child protection issue reported to the NSPCC’s helpline and it is everyone’s responsibility to be aware and be vigilant to any signs that children are suffering.”
Adults concerned about the wellbeing of a child can call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or go to nspcc.org.uk.
Children can contact Childline with any concerns on 0808 1111 or visit childline.org.uk.
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