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No Jail For Mum Who Left Kids To Go Drinking

A woman who abandoned her two young children in a car at night while she went drinking has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Kayleigh McNaughton, 21, was arrested after returning to her unlocked vehicle from a bar.

She had left her nine-month old baby strapped into a car seat and her three-year old son in the passenger footwell.

Police had been called to the scene by a worried passer-by.

Officers said she was unsteady on her feet and smelled strongly of alcohol when she emerged from the nearby bar in Rusholme, Manchester, just after 3.30am last August.

McNaughton said initially that she had been away for just a few minutes to buy painkillers from a chemist's store but officers who rescued the boys had been waiting by the car for 40 minutes.

Manchester Crown Court heard that CCTV footage showed the mother entering the bar at 2.25am and leaving at 3.37am. It also showed her dancing in the venue.

She later confessed to having been drinking with a friend for up to an hour and said that she had been "stressed out" because her baby had been crying all day.

Judge Anthony Gee QC was told that the vehicle belonged to a friend and is said to have smelled of nappies and vomit and was "full of rubbish" including an empty bottle of alcohol.

The baby was wet and dirty and police had to change his clothes.

At an earlier hearing magistrates were told that when police asked McNaughton's three-year-old child where his mother was he pointed up the street and said: "Mummy that way."

McNaughton pleaded guilty to two charges of wilful neglect.

Her barrister said: "She cares deeply about her children. She cares deeply about how she let them down."

The judge said, however: "They were left in an unlocked car in the middle of Manchester in the middle of the night. They were subject to a number of risks which are all too obvious.

"You ought to be utterly ashamed of the way you acted."

She was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Her children are now in care.