Northampton couple sentenced for neglect following death of six-week-old baby
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A tiny baby suffocated while in the care of her parents who were heavily under the influence of drink and drugs after a night out celebrating a birthday.
The baby was just six weeks old when she was found dead in the bed of her parents home in Northampton, on October 27, 2019.
Her father, aged 36 and her 31-year-old mother, appeared for sentencing at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (Thursday, June 17).
They had both pleaded guilty to child neglect at an earlier hearing before Northampton Magistrates Court.
The court heard the baby had been left in the care of a grandparent while the defendants went out to celebrate her mother’s 30th birthday.
Police investigations led to the discovery of CCTV footage in the Revolution bar in Bridge Street which showed the couple drinking heavily for more than four hours.
The mother was subsequently estimated to have been up to three times the drink-drive limit while her partner had traces of cocaine in his blood.
The couple had returned home where, at some point, the baby was laid in her parents bed. She was discovered lifeless at 4.30am the following morning.
Sentencing them both to a 12-month community order, Judge Rupert Mayo said they had both been incapable of, and failed to provide, proper care, but they were not criminally responsible for her death.
The mother will complete a total of 20 rehabilitation days to address complex grief reaction issues. The father will undergo 15 days of grief counselling.
DS Cathy O’Connor, of Northamptonshire Police’s child protection team, said: “This tragic but sadly not isolated case illustrates the very real dangers of caring for children while under the influence of drink or drugs and – most especially - the risks around co-sleeping with babies.
“This little baby was just a few weeks old, but had her whole life ahead of her, only for it to be taken away in an instant. Nothing will bring her back and her parents will have to carry the burden of her loss for the rest of their lives.”
*While no reporting restrictions were imposed on this case, the Judge asked that the parents’ identity be anonymised in any news reports and Northamptonshire Police has respected that request.