Girl left out in freezing cold overnight wearing just a dressing gown

A BABYSITTER has admitted abandoning a disabled six-year-old outside overnight in temperatures just above freezing, wearing only socks and a dressing gown.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the girl, who is deaf and blind, suffered hypothermia and almost died. Kate Harper, 26, strapped the youngster into her pram and went to sleep in a nearby house after a fireworks party in Kingspark, Glasgow, last November.

The court heard that the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was discovered the following morning by a school bus driver. The pram had tipped over, and the child was in it with her face pressed against the stone stairs.

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Harper, of Glencroft Road, Kingspark, will return to court for sentencing next month after Sheriff Kenneth Mitchell deferred sentence for background reports.

The court was told that the babysitter had taken the youngster to a fireworks party on Guy Fawkes night last year. But the party turned into a late night boozing session and as Harper took the girl back home she realised she had forgotten her keys and abandoned the girl outside.

She headed back to her sister's house to collect the keys but instead of returning with them, and as temperatures dipped to as low as 3C, she went to sleep in her sister's house.

Prosecutor Tony Quigley told the court that Harper had taken the child to her sister's house which is in the same street for a fireworks party at around 6.30pm.

Mr Quigley said: "At about 8pm the accused and her sister and various other family members started drinking. Then at around 1:30am, Miss Harper left the party with the girl to return to her own home.

"At the time she left, the girl was wearing small cotton socks, a nappy and a child's dressing gown. When the accused arrived at her home address she realised that she did not have her keys and couldn't gain access to the house.

"She then decided to go back to her sister's to get the keys and, as there was a relatively short distance between the houses, she left the child at the front door.

"Unfortunately, what happened was that the accused went inside her sister's and got into bed and fell asleep, which meant that the child was still in the pram outside her house further down the street."

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The court heard that a bus driver and classroom assistant arrived just before 8:30am the next morning to take the girl to school where she receives supported learning.

Mr Quigley continued: "They saw the pram which had tipped over and noticed that the child was in it with her face pressed against the stone stairs outside the house."

Mr Quigley added: "The circumstances were such that doctors believed there was a danger to the life of the young girl."

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