A MOTHER has been warned she could be jailed after being found drunk while in charge of her two-year-old son at 11.30am.
The Hove mother of two – who The Argus cannot name to protect her children – was yesterday found guilty of neglect.
The 31-year-old was found looking dishevelled on the floor of her toddler’s bedroom by police officers and a social worker who had to break into her home.
When questioned by police she tried to blame her own children for “telling lies”.
Roger Booth, prosecuting, told Brighton Magistrates’ Court: “This case comes about because this defendant had a duty of care to her son aged two and she was very, very drunk and, as a consequence, was unable to care for her child.
“If you are looking after a child who is two years old and you are so drunk you can’t do anything, that is exposing that child to risk of harm.
“You were very drunk when the police arrived and not capable of looking after yourself, never mind a two-year-old,” he told the mother.
Social worker Abigail Gonzales first tried to visit the mother at 9am on the morning of November 25. When she did not answer the door or her mobile phone, Ms Gonzales went away – returning at 11am, but the mother still did not answer.
She still did not answer her door when four police officers arrived and banged on the door with truncheons, before eventually smashing the door in.
Describing the state of the mother when she finally entered the child’s bedroom, Ms Gonzales told the court: “She was crouched on the bedroom floor with her son in front of her. She was very dishevelled, her eyes were very bloodshot. She was swaying and appeared intoxicated.”
Ms Gonzales called the toddler’s name and he came running to her, she said. She then held him for more than an hour before he was taken into protective custody while his mother was arrested.
PC James Breeds said about the mother: “She was kneeling on the floor almost holding on to the child for stability. She wasn’t very steady and probably the only thing stopping her falling over was the child. I remember her saying ‘the child lies’.
“She appeared incredibly drunk. She smelled of intoxicating liquor and her skin had a very sweaty appearance to it.
“She smelled much stronger than someone from a nightclub, for example, and I deal with that every week.”
When interviewed at Hollingbury police station 12 hours later, officers said she still smelled of alcohol. She told officers: “Children lie. My child got angry with me and children lie.”
Giving evidence in court, the mother said: “The evening before I was having a bit of a bad time with the older boy. After that my friend came over and we were talking about how he was turning into a teenager.
“I had drunk a bottle of wine, but I wouldn’t say I was drunk. I had only drunk the evening before, not that morning. I would never hurt my children. I’m a single mum and I try to do my best.”
Magistrates ruled that the mother must have been drunk because her account of the day’s events varied wildly from the other witnesses. They found her guilty of causing wilful neglect to the two-year-old.
The mother was warned that they will consider sending her to prison when she is sentenced on August 20.
Her two boys are being looked after by foster parents.