Baby died in bed with drunk mum
By LEE CAIN
A MUM whose six-week-old baby died after she took her to bed while drunk could face jail.
Boozy Rebecca Mary Ireland, 24, woke up to find her baby daughter Katie dead after falling asleep alongside her.
Preston Crown Court heard despite drinking heavily Ireland made the ill-fated decision to take Katie to bed with her on April 12 last year.
The mum — who was also suspected to have taken drugs — initially denied the charge of wilfully neglecting her daughter.
But Ireland, from Preston, Lancs, changed her plea on the basis her actions did not necessarily cause the tot's death.
Prosecutor Julie Taylor told the court there was a difference of opinion between two expert witnesses who could not confirm the cause of Katie's death.
Dr Alison Armer, a child pathologist, said the evidence suggested Katie had suffocated.
But Dr Backman, acting on behalf of the defence, said it was not possible to rule out Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Miss Taylor said: "The Crown has taken the view that when two experts are in dispute it is often not appropriate to ask a jury to try to resolve that issue.
"(Ireland) has never denied that she took the baby into bed whilst under the influence of alcohol but the Crown has to prove that the death resulted from suffocation."
Judge Stuart Baker accepted Ireland's plea to neglect, and agreed it would not be possible to confirm Katie died as a direct result of that neglect.
He said: "It is not simply a case of putting the two opinions into a set of weighing scales and balancing them as to which is the most attractive."
He added: "Wilful neglect of a child must always be regarded as serious and the court reserves all sentencing options. One of these is a custodial sentence."
Ireland will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on December 4.
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