A six-year-old boy set his bedroom on fire after he was left home alone for ‘being naughty’.
The boy’s tearful mother, 26, yesterday (Oct 4) appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court where she admitted to a child neglect charge following the fire last month.
Prosecutor Mike Vittis told the court that the youngster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had been left on his own at the house in Leeds while his mother went to the local supermarket on the afternoon of September 21.
He said: “The child set fire to the curtains in his own bedroom, causing them to fall on to his bed and set it on fire. Smoke billowed out from the windows which alerted neighbours.
“The child managed to get to the kitchen window and put his head out. The front door was locked at the time.”
Neighbours made a frantic rescue effort and called the fire brigade, who arrived and rescued the boy before putting out the fire, the court heard.
The boy was found to be suffering from smoke inhalation following the fire and was taken to Leeds General Infirmary to be checked by doctors.
Mr Vittis told the court: “There he made comments to the police that he had been naughty on that morning, which was why he had been left at home.”
The boy’s mother was arrested by police, who carried out a detailed investigation to determine how long he had been left at home alone. That included looking at CCTV footage from the supermarket where his mother had been.
The investigation determined that the child had been left alone for approximately 45 minutes, the court heard.
Fire investigators visited the house and concluded that the fire had started in the bedroom, where the curtains had been set alight before falling on to the bed. The top of a lighter was also found in the middle of the child’s bed.
Dressed all in black and fighting back tears, the boy’s mother, who also cannot be identified, pleaded guilty to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a child.
Defending her, Ruth Bundey said her client had never left her son in this way before.
The case was adjourned for further reports to be prepared and will be heard before Leeds Crown Court next month.