Northampton mother who left baby alone in bath jailed for manslaughter by gross negligence

Judge says baby's death was "completely avoidable" before giving mother 22-month prison sentence

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 7:22 pm

A mother whose baby drowned when he was left alone in a bath for five minutes has been jailed for manslaughter by gross negligence.

Simone Perry left four-month-old Renzo by himself in a bath seat in January 2019 after leaving the room to attend to somebody else. In the time she was gone, the little boy slipped out of his seat and drowned in approximately 13cm of water, the court heard.

But the young mother also later lied to her police about being on her phone at the time of the death, the court heard.

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Simone Perry was jailed at Northampton Crown Court

At a trial in March, Perry, 27, of Northampton, a jury ruled she was grossly negligent to leave the infant alone and convicted her of manslaughter.

Today (April 23) at Northampton Crown Court, Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking told the young mother that the death was "completely avoidable".

She said: "This is an extremely serious offence resulting in the death of a baby and the consequences were completely avoidable.

"Babies and young children are at serious risk of death or grave injury if left unsupervised in a bath, and even more so where their carer is avoidably distracted."

A jury convicted Perry of manslaughter by gross negligence after a trial in March.

A major aggravating feature in the case was that Perry later told police and doctors she was not on her phone and her mobile had "100 per cent been on charge" in her bedroom.

But phone records later proved how she had hung up from a 17-minute-long call in the moments before she discovered Renzo and rang 999.

The judge said: "You allowed yourself to be distracted by a telephone call. In the first police interview you specifically denied using a phone and I am sure this was a deliberate lie to mislead the police in their investigation.

"I am sure that you lied to the jury about your actions that day.

"I am satisfied that you remain in denial of your responsibility for your son’s death and your lies were in part a reflection of the fact that you have not yet accepted that you are responsible for the death of your baby."

Perry's defence barrister, Mr David Nathan QC, told the court that his client was also a victim in the case.

He said: "I appreciate that she caused this child's death, but she is the victim in this case as well. She will live with this the rest of her life. She is not a callous young woman. She cares deeply what happened."

Judge Lucking jailed Perry for 22 months, saying: "In my judgement, tragic though your situation is, I would be failing in my public duty if I did not impose an immediate custodial sentence."

A paediatric expert who gave evidence during the trial said it was recommended that children under four years should never be left unsupervised in a bath.

Speaking after the conviction in March, detective sergeant Kerry Chavush of Northamptonshire Police said there were "no winners" in the case.

They said: "This was an exceptionally tragic case to investigate because at the heart of it lies a much-loved young baby who lost his life in entirely preventable circumstances.

“Expert evidence was provided during the trial that stated a bath seat should never be considered as a safety device and is never a substitute for adult supervision.

“The World Health Organisation also do not recommend leaving a child under five-years-old alone in the bath.

“There are no winners in this case and it is so sad that a baby boy who had his whole life ahead of him has been taken away from this world in such a heart-breaking and dreadful way.”