Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 20:00 UK

Manchester mother jailed for neglecting baby boy

Tracey Sutherland
Sutherland was sentenced to 27 months in prison

The mother of a baby boy who was found strapped into his pushchair in front of a gas fire has been jailed for more than two years.

Tracey Sutherland, 39, admitted the neglect of her 13-month-old son Alexander, who was found at their home in Baguley, Manchester, last November.

He was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead later the same day.

At Manchester Crown Court, Sutherland, of Porlock Road, Baguley, was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

The court was told that when Alex - who was covered in faeces and had unexplained injuries on his body - was found he may have been dead for two days.

Greater Manchester Police said Sutherland had called them early on the morning of 10 November telling them she had a dead baby at her house.

'Miserable death'

She told them she was alone with her baby and had been for the past three days as she could not let him go.

Ambulance crews, who were called to the scene along with police, were forced to unlock the door to the property and once inside found baby Alex with charring to his body in his pushchair by a lit gas fire.

He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

Alex Sutherland
Alexander died in hospital on 10 November 2009

Alex's body was checked over and a number of marks were found on his body. A post-mortem examination was carried out but a cause of death could not be established.

It was found, however, that Alex had been subjected to neglect in the days leading up to his death, but no causal link was found between the neglect and his death.

The court heard that Sutherland suffered from depression and drank heavily.

Jailing her, Judge Clement Goldstone QC said the child had died a "very miserable death".

A multi-agency Serious Case Review is being carried out by the independent Manchester Safeguarding Children's Board.

'Sad case'

Pauline Newman, director children's services at Manchester City Council, said: "Alex's death was a terrible tragedy and we would once again like to offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

"We are examining closely our involvement with the family in the context of the multi-agency serious case review which is being carried out by the independent Manchester Safeguarding Children's Board."

Alex's family paid tribute to him following the hearing.

"We are here today on Alex's behalf," they said.

"No sentence could be given that would ever bring him back. We miss him and think of him everyday.

"Today has given us some closure and we would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in this sad case."



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