A Fylde mum who lied for years that her young daughter was suffering epileptic seizures has been jailed for eight months.
The attention craving woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, made the claims over a four-year period, which led to the youngster having unnecessary medical procedures and medication.
Judge Graham Knowles QC described her behaviour as the “persistent and selfish exploitation” of her own young daughter and said: “It is almost impossible to believe a mother should act as you did towards your daughter for your own needs and for as long as you did.”
The court heard the 41-year-old had also made a series of false claims to other people, including that she had been a victim of a number of crimes.
Matters came to a head at the beginning of January 2016, when she alleged she was receiving abusive and threatening letters, which led to police becoming involved. Officers later saw her place a letter on her own doorstep.
The girl was removed from her care in 2017, and she later pleaded guilty at the criminal courts to cruelty to a child by wilfully ill treating her between January 2012 and 2016.
Prosecuting at Preston’s Sessions House Court, Paul Brookwell said there had at first been genuine concerns for the girl and the defendant had believed she could have epilepsy. But she went on to exaggerate and falsify reports of the child having seizures and black outs.
The girl was prescribed epilepsy drugs and underwent a series of tests, including a stay in hospital for observation and CT scans.
The mum told medical staff the seizures had increased and were worse at night but they became concerned she seemed to be the only person to witness them.
Mr Brookwell said: “The child’s school was contacted and questions were asked, and it transpired there was no evidence from the school of any of these symptoms being witnessed by any of the school staff. This is a condition which can only be diagnosed from observations made – namely observations that the defendant made.”
After the mum lost the care of her daughter, a medic came to the opinion the girl was not suffering epilepsy, and she had to be weaned off the medication she had been prescribed.
The child’s dad, in a statement, said he could not believe the person he called his wife had “poisoned” their child. In a more recent statement he revealed the girl had grown in confidence and was now more active.
Defending, Ros Scott-Bell said: “She (the mum) has taken a considerable amount of time acknowledging she had done wrong and it has been very difficult for her to accept that what she did harmed her daughter.
“She had for some reason convinced herself that what she was doing was her best to get attention for her daughter.
“What she did is incomprehensible to most people especially parents. It’s as a result of her desire to be noticed and to have sympathy.”
Judge Knowles told her: “You used your own daughter as a means for getting what you want without any care whatsoever about the effects on her.”
“The attention you got bolstered your self esteem.”