A MOTHER abandoned her nine-year-old daughter at their home in Leeds for almost a week while she went to stay with her new boyfriend.
A court heard the youngster was left without enough food and had to live without heating or lighting during her six-day ordeal.
The girl was also ordered not to go to school and was forbidden from answering the door or telephone in a bid to hide the fact that she was home alone. Leeds Crown Court heard the mother, who cannot be named, left the youngster with only enough microwave meals to last three days.
The mother, aged in her 20s, decided to extend her stay with her new partner in Manchester but failed to tell her daughter in May last year. The court heard the girl felt distraught when her mother did not return home on time and feared she had been abandoned forever.
Robert Young, prosecuting, said the girl had been ordered to stay inside and play video games at their home in the Osmondthorpe area of east Leeds. But after three days the gas and electricity were cut off. She was also left without enough food and had to live on fruit, crackers and cereal.
Mr Young said: “When the defendant returned to the property some six days later she then told the child: ‘Don’t you dare tell anyone. If you do, you know what will happen’.”
The court heard the offences came to light through a combination of the child’s school and her grandmother liaising with each other. The mother pleaded guilty to one offence of child cruelty.
The court heard the girl was now living with her grandmother but did have some contact with her mother.
Judge Penelope Belcher gave the woman a 24-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. She was also made the subject of a high-level intensity order designed to address her offending.
The judge said: “You put above the interests of a child your own interests. On your return she expressed her fear to you that you were never coming back.
“This child must have been terrified in that house.
“She complied with your instructions because as her mother she trusted you – she loved you.
“Because of her situation I am not going to send you immediately to custody. But it is because of her, not because of you.”