Woman, 30, left girl, 4, home alone while she went on nine-hour drinking binge
A WOMAN left a four-year-old girl home alone while she went on a nine-hour drinking binge, a court heard.
Natalie Bell, 30, was arrested after being found asleep in a drunken state at her friend's flat as a kitchen sink overflowed and caused water to drip into the apartment below.
Police and firefighters forced their way into the flat and said Bell and her friend Colette Smith were so comatose by alcohol they initially feared they were both dead.
When Bell was finally roused, she became aggressive and had to be handcuffed by police following a struggle.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was later found to be unharmed.
At Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, Bell admitted child neglect was ordered to complete a 18-month community order, 100 hours unpaid work and a nine month alcohol treatment programme.
The incident occurred on January 29 last year after Bell went to see 33-year-old Smith.
Lisa Boocock, prosecuting, said: ''CCTV footage showed that at 10pm the defendant went to Miss Smith's flat where she remained from that point onwards to 7am the following morning – a total of nine hours.
"The defendant was absent from the child during that time and the front door to her own flat was unlocked.
"There are very brief periods when the defendant goes back to her flat but she sometimes just goes to the door for very short periods of time.
This child was left alone for nine hours and she could have got out as the door was unlocked
"The tap in the other flat had been left running but the two women were extremely intoxicated and fell asleep on a bed.
"The water had soaked through the ceiling and was leaking through to the flats below. The fire services went in and found the two intoxicated women.
"They originally thought they were dead as they were out cold.
"When roused Miss Smith was calm throughout but this defendant reacted differently. She was aggressive towards the emergency service workers and shouted at them and was abusive for a considerable period of time.
"The defendant accepted what she had done – that she had left the little girl and then become intoxicated. Both of them were seeking to blame the other for starting this.''
Bell, from Shaw, near Oldham, had no previous convictions.
Her lawyer Ian Ridgeway said: ''Drinking is the problem, and she is easily led.
''She has moved from Oldham to Bolton and since moving to that location, she is away from the people who are influencing her.''
Sentencing, Judge Maurice Greene, told Bell: “This child was left alone for nine hours and she could have got out as the door was unlocked.
"You weren’t there to protect her when you job was to protect her. It was your responsibility, and you failed in that responsibility."
Smith, of Oldham, was convicted of neglect at an earlier hearing.
She was ordered to complete an 18-month community order, 120 hours of unpaid work and pay a £90 victim surcharge.
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