Northamptonshire mum jailed for killing baby son left alone in bath

Image source, Northamptonshire Police
Image caption,
Renzo slipped out of his bath seat and drowned in 13cm of water as his mother used her phone

A mother whose baby son drowned in the bath while she was "distracted" on her phone has been jailed for 22 months.

Simone Perry's five-month-old son Renzo slipped out of his bath seat when she left the room for five minutes to send a WhatsApp message and make a call.

Her trial had heard she assumed he would be safe. He slipped into 13cm of water and drowned on 27 January 2019.

Perry, 27, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter by a jury at Northampton Crown Court in March.

Passing sentence at the same court, Judge Adrienne Lucking QC told Perry: "On discovering Renzo, you immediately called the emergency services and tried to resuscitate Renzo.

"When the paramedics arrived you told them that you had left your baby for about four minutes... and it was your fault."

Perry later told doctors what had happened but "omitted to tell them about using the phone", said the judge.

"I am sure that was because you knew you had allowed yourself to be avoidably distracted," she added.

'Have not accepted responsibility'

The court heard Perry initially denied using a phone in a police interview - a lie the judge said was a deliberate attempt to mislead the investigation.

Judge Lucking added: "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.

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

"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.

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

Image source, Northamptonshire Police
Image caption,
Perry's barrister said she felt remorse and would have to live with Renzo's death for the rest of her life

Perry's barrister David Nathan QC had argued for a non-custodial sentence, saying his client's "lapse" had occurred amid an otherwise satisfactory standard of care.

"Plainly this is a young woman with significant problems identified in the psychologist's report," said Mr Nathan.

"In a sense she is the victim in this case. I appreciate she caused this child's death but she will live with this for the rest of her life.

"You know this is not a callous young woman. This is someone who cares very deeply what happened... a woman who feels remorse for what happened to her child.

"She will bear the loss as much as anybody else in the years to come."

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