Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 18:53 UK

Mother guilty of leaving toddler

Kelly Tollerton was convicted of three charges

A woman who left her two-year-old son alone for the weekend while she went out with her boyfriend has been found guilty of child cruelty.

The boy was found crying, dressed in dirty underwear and standing in water at the flat in Lincoln. He had looked through rubbish for food scraps.

Kelly Tollerton, 22, denied child cruelty and perverting the course of justice, at Lincoln Crown Court.

She was released on bail. Sentencing was adjourned for reports to be made.

Your parenting of this child was totally inadequate
Recorder William Harbage

Tollerton was convicted of one count of child cruelty by way of neglect, one of child cruelty by way of abandonment and one charge of perverting the course of justice.

Recorder William Harbage told the defendant that she faced a custodial sentence.

"You have been convicted on the clearest possible evidence of leaving your two-and-a-half-year-old son home alone while you went to stay for the weekend with your partner.

"This was the culmination of a period of wilful neglect of him and, on the evidence, your parenting of this child was totally inadequate."

The court had heard the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found by police after neighbours noticed water leaking from the flooded flat into their apartment below.

The jury was told the toddler had been penned into the kitchen while Tollerton spent the weekend with Ken Hill, 36.

When the boy was found, a packet of chocolate and a spoon were on the kitchen floor.

Tollerton had claimed her friend Emma Barton looked after the youngster, but this was rejected by the jury.

'Progressing well'

During the trial, Tollerton told the court: "I would never ignore him. I would talk to him. He was a happy, smiling, contented boy.

"I would play with the boy. I would get toys out and show them what they did. I would play with him and read him stories.

"I took care of him to the best I could. I was never neglectful of him at all."

The child is now being looked after by foster carers and is said to be "progressing well".

Speaking after the trial, Det Con Jayne Tolley, said: "This case was very upsetting and distressing for everyone concerned in the investigation.

"However, our discomfort was insignificant when compared to that of the little boy who was left in such dire conditions.

"Sadly I doubt that this is an isolated incident, albeit an extreme example."

Tollerton is due to be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court on 27 June.

Toddler 'sifted rubbish for food'
04 Jun 08 |  Lincolnshire

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