Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 16:03 UK

Drunken father 'forgets' his baby

A drunken father who abandoned his six-month old daughter in a sweet shop has been put on probation.

Shaun Marshall was three times over the legal limit to drive when he "forgot" his baby, leaving her in her buggy.

The 27-year-old of Westerhope, Newcastle, who had drunk "a skinful" the previous day and night, drove off with his two other children.

He admitted being drunk in charge of children on 17 February and was put on probation for nine months.

Marshall, of Rogerson Terrace, also admitted drink-driving at Newcastle Magistrates' Court and was banned from driving for two years.

Prosecuting, Mark Brennan said that about 1730 BST staff at the Candy Man sweet shop on Victoria Crescent, Cullercoats, called the police to report that a man had abandoned a baby.

CCTV footage showed Marshall leaving the shop with his two toddlers but leaving the baby by the door.

He then drove off in his Mercedes Benz.

When he returned 10 minutes later, police were waiting and he was breathalysed and arrested.

'Close to death

A blood alcohol test showed he had 240mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, when the legal limit is 80mg.

Mr Brennan said: "He told police he was tired and confused. He accepts he was over the limit and accepts the stupidity of driving the vehicle with his young children in the car."

Defending, John Monkhouse said Marshall had stopped drinking and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous.

He said: "Sometimes it takes a tragedy before a situation will strike home to somebody.

"Fortunately this time a tragedy was averted and nothing too serious happened. He had drunk a skinful the previous day."

Chairman of the bench George Mitchell said: "If you were three times over the limit when you gave that blood sample then at some stage during the night you must have been close to death.

"To be four times over the limit is to be heading towards the breakdown of your bodily functions."

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