Mother Who Let Baby Burn Is Jailed

A mother has been jailed for more than two years after her 13-month-old son's charred body was found strapped in his buggy in front of a fire.

Tracey Sutherland's confession that she neglected her son, Alexander, between October 29 and November 10 last year, was accepted by Judge Clement Goldstone QC.

Sentencing her to 27 months in prison, he said: "I accept you are genuinely and utterly remorseful for what you did or more importantly what you did not do."

Alex was found by police at the family home in Baguley, Manchester, on November 10. He was taken to hospital but later died.

At an earlier hearing it emerged there was evidence of charring to the body and apparent bruising.

But a pathologist's report said no direct link could be found between the 39-year-old mother's neglect and the baby's death, Manchester Crown Court heard.

During the hearing the judge also criticised social services for their "lack of urgency".

Social workers became involved with the Sutherland family shortly after Alexander's birth.

After nearly a year, in September 2009, they declared the case closed as he did not seem to be at any risk.

This changed on 5 October, when social services received a call following a family row. After an assessment, Alexander was deemed to be at "medium risk".

However, there was no further contact for a month and social services allowed a meeting arranged for 5 November to be cancelled by Sutherland.

Five days later, the emergency services received a call from Sutherland saying she had been at home alone with her baby for three days.

Paramedics found the house was unlocked and discovered Alexander in his pushchair next to a lit gas fire.

Pauline Newman, director of children's services at Manchester City Council, said:"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."


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