Young mum faces court for leaving kids at home alone

A YOUNG Rockhampton mum has been sentenced to three years probation after leaving her 11-year-old and eight-year-old kids home alone.

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court last week to a string of 11 charges including four counts of leaving a child for an unreasonable amount of time.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Manon Barwick told the court the incidents both occurred in January.

The woman's children were first discovered to have been left home alone after she drove her car through a garden bed while intoxicated.

The court heard witnesses on the night had seen the woman's car oversteer around a corner and drive through a garden bed, destroying plants and leaving parts of the vehicle behind.

When police attended the woman's address about the accident, she refused to let them enter and they had to obtain entry by force.

Once inside, police found two young kids and a bowl of cannabis.

"Police interviewed the children and found a bowl with leafy green material in the reach of both children... Police also located a homemade water pipe in a childproof kitchen cupboard," Snr Const. Barwick told the court.

"(When she) got into the vehicle and drove away from the address, both children were asleep in the house.

"She said she left something at another house and needed to get it."

Then on a later date, police attended the woman's address to find her children home alone again.

The kids told police their mother had gone to work five hours before, but she claimed the babysitter just never turned up.

Defence solicitor Brian McGowran said his client was a depressed single mother with a physically violent ex-partner.

"As a consequence she is raising children who are relatively self reliant," he said.

Magistrate Mark Morrow said the woman was between a "rock and a hard place", and stopped to check she was all right when she broke down in tears.

"You are a young person trying to do the best you can. Unfortunately with two young children you have resorted to drugs as well," he said. "You can't have that around when you have young children."

The woman was sentenced to a three-year probation order with the condition she submit to psychological treatment and drug intervention programs as directed.

Her licence was disqualified for 15 months and she was fined $200 for failing to leave her details after the crash.



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