Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 16:50 UK

Babysitter in Glasgow abandoned disabled girl outside

Kate Harper
Kate Harper admitted abandoning the child outside her home

A babysitter has admitted abandoning a disabled six-year-old outside overnight in temperatures just above freezing, wearing only socks and a dressing gown.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the girl, who is deaf and blind, suffered hypothermia and almost died.

Kate Harper, 26, strapped the youngster into her pram and went to sleep in a nearby house after a fireworks party in Kingspark, Glasgow, last November.

She will return to court for sentencing next month.

The court heard that the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was discovered the following morning by a school bus driver.

The pram had tipped over, and the child was in it with her face pressed against the stone stairs.

Harper admitted abandoning the girl outside her home on 6 November.

The court was told that a party on Guy Fawkes night turned into a late night drinking session and when the 26-year-old took the youngster back to her house she realised she had forgotten her keys and abandoned the girl outside.

The circumstances were such that doctors believed there was a danger to the life of the young girl
Tony Quigley

She headed back to collect the keys but instead of returning with them went to sleep in her sister's house.

Prosecutor Tony Quigley said: "Unfortunately what happened was that the accused went inside her sister's and got into bed and fell asleep which meant that the child was still in the pram outside her house further down the street."

A bus driver and classroom assistant arrived just before 0830 GMT to take the girl to school, where she receives supported learning.

Mr Quigley continued: "They saw the pram which had tipped over and noticed that the child was in it with her face pressed against the stone stairs outside the house.

"She was shivering and her lips were blue.

"They immediately called for an ambulance and the police."

'Tragic case'

As paramedics treated the girl, Harper was spotted walking down the street from her sister's house.

Police officers spoke to her, and she told them she had very little recollection of what had happened the night before.

She was taken to Aitkenhead Road police office and later admitted to abandoning the girl.

The youngster was taken to Yorkhill Hospital where doctors treated her for hypothermia and bruising from the straps of the pram.

Mr Quigley added: "The circumstances were such that doctors believed there was a danger to the life of the young girl."

The court heard that the Met Office estimated temperatures that night to be around 3C.

Defence lawyer Ross Yuill said that the case was "tragic".

Sheriff Kenneth Mitchell deferred sentence for background reports.

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