Single mum Demi Heffernan had been drinking when she disappeared from her home, leaving the children behind until she returned at 1.15am after a neighbor alerted police
Image: Hull LiveWS)
Two brothers, aged four and six, were found abandoned on the street after their mother left them at home to drink.
Single mum Demi Heffernan had been drinking when she disappeared from her home, leaving the children behind until she returned at 1.15am after a neighbor alerted police.
The boys, aged six and four, climbed out of a window in their home late at night after their mother “left them on their own” for two hours.
One of the “desperate” children knocked on a neighbor’s house at 12:15 a.m. after using a chair propped against a wall to climb out the window onto the street.
The boys could have been abducted by a stranger or a fire could have broken out while she was missing, Hull Crown Court heard.
Heffernan, 25, of Bridlington, admitted child abuse on April 1 last year, reports Hull Live.
Richard Thompson, prosecutor, said Heffernan was drinking at a neighbor’s house but at 10:30 p.m. she left to put the two children to bed.
Hull Live WS)
She wanted to return to the neighbor’s house, but the woman waited an hour for her return, and by 11:30 p.m. she had not done so.
The neighbor went to check and could see the children in the house, but she couldn’t see Heffernan.
At 12:15 p.m., Heffernan’s six-year-old son knocked on the neighbor’s door and his four-year-old brother was down the street.
The woman took her to her home and alerted police at 12:30 a.m. after repeatedly trying to call Heffernan.
Police arrived, but Heffernan didn’t show up until around 1:15 a.m.
“The children were taken to their grandparents to be cared for,” said Mr. Thompson. “They were alone for about two hours, maybe a little longer.”
Heffernan offended the neighbor over the measures she took to protect the children that night, Mr Thompson said.
Police saw that the children had pushed a wooden chair against a wall so they could climb through a window.
“The children were tired and desperate,” said Mr. Thompson.
Hull Live WS)
Hull Live WS)
Heffernan later pretended she had been at her mother’s house for just five minutes and was “angry” at the interview.
She denied neglecting the boys and being under the influence of alcohol, but admitted she “had a drink.”
Heffernan claimed the woman was “just trying to trick her” by what she said.
“[Heffernan] told some lies about what actually happened,” added Mr. Thompson.
Heffernan had been convicted of six previous offenses including matters of public order, criminal damage and drunk driving.
Mitigatingly, Michele Stuart-Lofthouse said Heffernan complied with a community order issued by Hull judges in November for threatening conduct towards the same neighbor.
It included a marked 90-day alcohol abstinence prescription.
“She is repentant,” said Miss Stuart-Lofthouse.
“It is the biggest regret of her life that this incident happened.
“At the time this happened, but it’s no excuse at all, she was going through a series of difficulties in her life.”
Heffernan had suffered from anxiety and alcohol problems while trying to care for two children.
“She addresses her drinking problems,” said Miss Stuart-Lofthouse.
“She now appreciates the extent of her very poor decision making.
“She has meanwhile done everything she could to get help and support from those around her. She hopes that with the help she is given now, she can get her life back on track.
“She’s had the ability to work in the past and she hopes to be able to do that again.”
Any prospect of the children’s return to Heffernan would depend on the trial.
Judge John Thackray QC told Heffernan: “They made the decision at 10.30pm to leave two young children aged four and six at home.
“It must have been extremely scary for her. They were described by police as distressed when they arrived at the scene around 1am.
“They were seen on the street. That’s the actual damage you caused.
“What would have happened if there had been a fire?” said Judge Thackray. “What would have happened if a stranger had taken one of your children?
“They waited for the CCTV to be served,” Judge Thackray said.
“You knew you were guilty and you should have pleaded guilty at that point. I don’t accept that you are remorseful, or at least truly remorseful.
“Had you been repentant, you would have pleaded guilty sooner.”
Heffernan was sentenced to 10 months probation and 200 hours of unpaid labor.
No court orders were issued in connection with the children in the case, which was later confirmed by the court.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brothers-4-6-found-street-26373453 Brothers, 4 and 6, found alone in the street after mum left them to drink