A mother found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after her unattended baby son drowned in the bath has been jailed for 22 months.
Simone Perry sent a WhatsApp message to a friend and made a phone call after leaving five-month-old Renzo Lake, who slipped off a baby bath seat into 13cm of water and drowned.
The 27-year-old was found guilty at Northampton Crown Court in March after jurors heard claims she had left the bathroom at her Northamptonshire home for several minutes on January 27, 2019, assuming her son would be safe.
Passing sentence at the same court on Friday, Judge Adrienne Lucking QC told Perry: “On discovering Renzo, you immediately called the emergency services and tried to resuscitate Renzo.
“When the paramedics arrived you told them that you had left your baby for about four minutes… and it was your fault.
“Subsequently you gave an account of events to a number of doctors but you omitted to tell them about using the phone.
“I am sure that was because you knew you had allowed yourself to be avoidably distracted.”
Perry initially denied using a phone in a police interview, the court heard, a lie the judge said was a deliberate attempt to mislead the investigation.
Judge Lucking added: “I am satisfied that you remain in denial of your responsibility for your son’s death and your lies were in part a reflection of the fact that you have not yet accepted that you are responsible for the death of your baby.
“This is an extremely serious offence resulting in the death of a baby and the consequences were completely avoidable.
“In my judgment, tragic though your situation is, I would be failing in my public duty if I did not impose an immediate custodial sentence.
“Babies and young children are at serious risk of death or grave injury if left unsupervised in a bath, and even more so if their carer is avoidably distracted.”
Prior to sentence, Perry’s barrister David Nathan QC urged the judge to pass a non-custodial sentence, saying her “lapse” had occurred amid an otherwise satisfactory standard of care.
Mr Nathan told the court: “Plainly this is a young woman with significant problems identified in the psychologist’s report. Nothing anyone can say can change what happened in this case.
“In a sense she is the victim in this case. I appreciate she caused this child’s death but she will live with this for the rest of her life.
“You know this is not a callous young woman. This is a someone who cares very deeply what happened… a woman who feels remorse for what happened to her child. She will bear the loss as much as anybody else in the years to come.”
Speaking after Perry’s conviction last month, the police officer who investigated the case stressed that experts recommend no child under-five should be left alone in a bath.
Commenting on the “entirely preventable” death, Detective Sergeant Kerry Chavush, from Northamptonshire Police’s Child Protection Team, said: “Expert evidence was provided during the trial that stated a bath seat should never be considered as a safety device and is never a substitute for adult supervision.
“There are no winners in this case and it is so sad that a baby boy who had his whole life ahead of him has been taken away from this world in such a heart-breaking and dreadful way.”