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Mother left son, 5, alone to go drinking

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: August 09, 2013

A PENZANCE mother who left her disabled five-year-old son home alone while she went out drinking has been jailed.

Acting on a call from a concerned member of the public, police forced their way into Cheryl Walton's home where they found her terrified son locked into his room by a child gate.

Sarah Vince, for the CPS, said that just before midnight officers arrived at the property on Trezela Road and found the house in darkness.

Unable to rouse anyone inside, they broke down the door, causing distress to a dog inside, she told the court.

They then went upstairs where the boy, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was hiding, curled up in a ball and shaking under a duvet cover. Next to him was some toast with jam on it and a cola drink.

When asked by police where his mummy was he replied that she had "gone out again".

He had difficulty walking and was found to be distressed.

At around 2am that night on April 20, officers found the intoxicated mother at Matt's Bar on Market Jew Street and when questioned she lied and said that her son was with a babysitter.

Ms Vince said Walton had later admitted abandoning the youngster in a police interview.

"She said that she had been in a low mood and that she had gone out for a drink and not arranged any childcare," said Ms Vince.

"She said she had gone out at 11pm and planned to come home at 2.30am."

Last Tuesday Walton was sentenced to six weeks in jail by Truro magistrates.

She then appeared at Truro Crown Court on Monday to appeal the sentence.

Speaking for the defence, Barrie Van den Berg said Walton suffered from depression and shortly before the night in question she had been beaten by her partner.

He said: "She felt so low, she felt no hope and she felt she had to get out. I know that's wrong but I am being realistic about what this lady felt."

Mr Van den Berg said that keeping Walton in jail to serve the remainder of her term would not help her become a better mother.

Upholding the original sentence of six weeks, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark disagreed.

He said: "Leaving a five-year-old disabled child in your home to fend for itself while you were going out getting drunk was a terrible thing to do.

"It is said that this was a solitary occasion but we can not but note that not only did your son say this had happened before but people in the club, Matt's Bar, said something similar."

He added that some might think the six-week sentence, of which Walton will serve half, was too lenient.

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