Mother who locked four-year-old daughter in a bedroom for three hours so she could go into town is jailed for 150 days
Court heard Sophie Ritson, 21, locked girl in room to go into town
Shocked neighbours called police after hearing youngster's cries
Police broke into house before Ritson returned from outing
She said 'she needed to be by herself' because girl's 'attitude stinks'
She has been jailed after admitting neglecting and abandoning daughter
By RICHARD SPILLETT FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 08:08 GMT, 1 September 2014 | UPDATED: 08:10 GMT, 1 September 2014
A mother has been jailed after locking her four-year-old daughter in her room for three hours so she could go into town 'to be by herself'.
Sophie Ritson, 21, was jailed for 150 days after she admitted neglecting and abandoning her daughter on July 25.
North Cumbria Magistrates' Court heard that worried neighbours raised the alarm after hearing the little girl pleading for food and drink and shouting that she wanted to get out.
The mother was seen in Carlisle city centre (pictured) after locking her in a room because 'she needed to be by herself'.
Police were called to rescue the youngster after she was left in a bedroom for more than three hours while her mum went into Carlisle city centre.
Diane Jackson, prosecuting, told how officers found that the little girl's potty was nearly full and the room was sparsely decorated with bare floorboards exposed.
The court was told that a neighbour heard the girl shouting 'I want to come out' from an upstairs room and later 'I'm hungry. I need a drink'.
Another neighbour said she spotted Ritson, of Carlisle, Cumbria, with her partner in the city centre at about 1pm.
The police were called and officers managed to open the kitchen window in an attempt to rescue the girl before Ritson finally returned home at around 4pm.
When asked by police officers why she had left her daughter, Ritson said that she 'needed to be by herself'.
She also claimed that, before she left the house, her daughter was given a drink and she had locked her door for the child's own safety.
Sophie Ritson was jailed at North Cumbria Magistrates Court after admitting child neglect
She added: 'I don't know what I was thinking. Her attitude stinks. She is crying all the time,' the court heard.
Ritson is allowed to be named after a court order banning publication of her identity was successfully challenged.
Laura Harper, defending, said her client had received a lack of support since having her daughter.
'Sophie doesn't attempt to minimise what she did that day. She didn't feel as though she could go to anyone to talk to about child problems,' she said.
Sentencing, District Judge Gerald Chalk condemned what the mother had done. He said: 'I take the view that this is so serious that custody is my only option.
'Parents know the pleasure of having children but also the commitment of looking after that child properly. But you chose to abandon her for several hours.'
Can anyone spot any differences between this case and any other cases currently being investigated ?
@palm tree wrote:If only Mrs Fenn reported it on Tuesday, Madeleine might still be safe.
It wasn't up to Mrs Fenn to report anything. Madeleine's parents are the only people to be blamed for whatever happened to Madeleine. Mrs Fenn did not know what was going on in the apartment. If she had called the OC staff or the police it may have been something innocent that was going on, Madeleine having a tantrum, or other reasons for the prolonged crying.
Mrs Fenn lived in the apartment permanently, she wasn't a holidaymaker who could go home and not be castigated, so anything she reported would have been a stain on her character if it was nothing untoward. She would have been labelled a "nosy parker", "an interfering old woman", or worse.
She shouldn't have been put in that position in the first place.
Laurie Levenson, Quoted in the Guardian ........
"Never trust an eyewitness whose memory gets better over time"
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@PeterMac wrote:I have just spotted one important difference.
The Child is still alive.
And the parent is being held accountable. No big PR roadshow or agendas or money spinning to leave her free. Obviously not within the bounds of reasonable parenting any longer.
This woman at least locked the door and didn't have all and sundry wander past and "check" the child.
Regarding Mrs Fenn - it has been said the parents were asked to return from Chaplins because of crying on another occasion. I don't know if this is a myth or fact, but if true then Mrs Fenn was not the only person with concerns.
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