Woman jailed after abandoning baby in upturned pram in park

Julie Gill
Julie Gill
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A woman has been jailed for 12 months after she abandoned a baby in an upturned pram in a Blackpool park.

Julie Gill, 44, was supposed to be looking after the tot when she went on a drinking binge in the resort and forgot about the baby.

The little girl, who can not be identified for legal reasons, was found strapped into her buggy, face down in the dirt, by a man walking his dog in Watson Road Park at around 7.30am on July 24.

She had no coat, shoes or blanket, a dirty nappy and dirt and grazes to her nose and face.

Judge Robert Altham, said: “She could have died.”

Preston Crown Court heard Gill had been drinking vodka at her home in Lindale Gardens, South Shore, before going to meet a friend at the Dutton Arms pub on Blackpool Promenade.

She continued to drink lager and vodka at the pub before moving on to the Duple Club in nearby Bond Street.

The women left the club at midnight and Gill walked away, pushing the baby in the pram.

But when she woke a neighbour at 4am, shouting she had lost her keys, the baby was no longer with her.

The following morning a dog-walker spotted the buggy upside down in Watson Road Park.

Gill’s bag and tablet computer were scattered around it, but when he went to tip the pram over, the man felt it was heavy and discovered the little girl asleep underneath.

Judge Altham said: “She had been alone, abandoned in an upturned pram with her face in the dirt.

“She could have been attacked by a dog or a fox, she could have been abducted.

“She could have found because of the position she was in, difficulty breathing.

“She could have died.”

Police tracked Gill down to her neighbour’s house using the contents of her bag, which was found with the buggy.

Gill told officers she thought she had been attacked and had no recollection after leaving the club.

She said the child was being looked after by another woman.

Judge Altham said: “You that night chose to prioritise your desire to drink on a night out over the need of the child to be protected from serious harm, or worse.”

“Though it was summer I understand she wasn’t wearing any shoes or coat. She will have been cold. She will have been frightened when she was alone in the dark, abandoned by the person who was supposed to be looking after her.

“She will have felt considerable discomfort having been suspended by the straps in her pram and she will have felt pain as a result of sitting in a soiled nappy for a considerable time.”

The court heard Gill had been under financial and emotional pressure at the time of the offence.

She pleaded guilty to child cruelty and sobbed throughout the hearing at Preston Crown Court.