Mum gets jail term after children left alone overnight

A MOTHER-of-four has been served with a jail term after she left her children unattended overnight and disappeared for more than 12 hours.

The woman told the court this week it was a "miscommunication" when she hung up on her concerned neighbour and was unable to be contacted throughout the night, even by Calliope Police Station officers.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to one count of leaving a child under 12 unattended.

The court was told on November 4 the woman's children, aged 11, 8 and 6 were playing with her neighbour's child when they decided to go swimming.

The adult neighbour told the children to ask permission from the woman before getting in the pool.

The children went home to ask but their mother wasn't home.

The court was told after the neighbour tried to call the woman several times, she eventually answered the phone.

The court was told the neighbour said to the woman she could not leave her children unsupervised.

The woman hung up on her neighbour and could not be reached even when police officers tried to contact her.

About 11pm the woman was reported missing.

At 11.30am the following day the woman turned up at the Calliope Police Station.

The court was told the woman drove to Bundaberg but did not have enough fuel to return home.

The woman told police she turned off her phone.

She told police she thought her children were going sleepover at the neighbour's house.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai said the woman's offending was "abhorrent" and showed an "absolute disregard".

"She has left her children unsupervised, not for a short period of time but for almost a whole day," he said.

Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said the woman claimed there had been a miscommunication between her and the neighbour.

Magistrate Athol Kennedy sentenced the woman to four months jail with immediate parole release.


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