Prison sentence for Ripon mum who abandoned her baby in the middle of a busy road

A mother who left her baby in the middle of a busy road in Ripon has been jailed after breaching the terms of her suspended sentence.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 4:02 pm
A mother who left her baby in the middle of a busy road in Ripon has been jailed after breaching the terms of her suspended sentence.

The young woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a suspended prison sentence in April after she admitted abandoning the child.

But since then she has breached the order twice by failing to attend rehabilitation appointments under the auspices of the Probation Service.

In April, the Ripon Gazette told how a young Ripon man came to the rescue of the baby after spotting what looked like an empty car-seat baby carrier at a junction off Harrogate Road.

Alex Wilson, 21, was driving through the town at night and mercifully turned right instead of left, which would have taken him straight into the bath of the baby, whose leg was protruding from the carrier about 3ft from the pavement.

There was no sign of the child’s mother and despite fearing it might be a criminal scam, Mr Wilson, a joiner and former grammar-school pupil, turned his car around and drove back to the scene.

Mr Wilson could barely make out the black carrier because it was dark and there was no street lighting. He parked his car near a chip shop and went out into the road where he found the baby, who appeared to be about six months’ old.

The baby was wearing just an all-in-one jumpsuit despite the fact that it was a bitterly-cold November night with the temperatures just above freezing.

The child was carried into the chip shop and the young mother was later traced. Police found her “looking pale, unwell and crying”. When asked if she had left the baby in the road, she told officers: “I couldn’t cope, so I left him for two minutes.”

CCTV footage showed the mother laying the baby-carrier down at the road junction and then walking off, just minutes before the baby was discovered by Mr Wilson at about 8.30pm.

Police took the baby to his grandmother’s home and the mother was arrested. She was hauled in for questioning at Harrogate Police Station but made no comment. She was charged with abandoning a child, causing the life of the child to be endangered.

The court heard she had many previous convictions for offences including drug possession and stealing to fund her habit. The sentencing judge at the time described the offence as “unimaginable” and a “shocking example of neglect”.

However, the eight-month prison sentence was suspended for two years and included a 30-day rehabilitation programme. On Friday, the mother was back in the dock following another breach of the suspended sentence.

Mr Hickey said he had no option but to activate the eight-month jail sentence because the woman had been given “several chances” to comply with the order and turn her life around.

“You have breached the order once already and you are still living a chaotic lifestyle,” added the judge. “You left the child in the middle of a road outside a chip shop.”

At the original sentence hearing in April, judge Andrew Stubbs commended Mr Wilson for his “heroic” actions which he said may have saved the child’s life. He ordered that the young joiner be paid £250 from public funds for his potentially-life-saving bravery.

Mr Wilson, a former pupil at Outwood Academy in Ripon who studied joinery at Harrogate College, said that had he not changed direction in his car, “I’d have gone straight over the baby”.

“You don’t just leave a baby in the middle of a road,” he added.

The mother, from Ripon, was in a highly-emotional state as she was led down to the cells by prison officers.