Gransnet forums


should she have gone to prison?

(27 Posts)
Barrow Fri 22-Jul-11 11:22:09

In Bristol it has been reported that a 2 year old boy drowned in a garden pond whilst his 44 year old grandmother was passed out on the sofa indoors. The parents were in a nearby pub. The child wasn't missed until 10.30 p.m. All three adults were given suspended prison sentences. Am I being unreasonable in thinking the grandmother should have gone to prison? I am sure she is very sorry for the death of her grandson but she was totally irresponsible to drink to the extent she did whilst she was looking after this little boy.

I don't have children, so no grandchildren, so I would be interested to know the views of grandparents out there.

glassortwo Fri 22-Jul-11 11:44:53

I have not read or heard of this case so I may be speaking out of turn not knowing the facts, but I dont feel that putting her into prison will achieve anything apart from cost the tax payers, I would imagine she is unable to live with the guilt. But how anyone with the care of a child could be so irresponsible to have got into such a state that she passed out is beyond me.

helshea Fri 22-Jul-11 11:45:49

If this had been an accident, and the grandmother had turned her back for a min and he had disappeared - I think there is a case for some sort of understanding... but drunk, passed out on the sofa? That is criminal and just been treated as such.

helshea Fri 22-Jul-11 11:47:11

I meant should have been treated as such... But I must add I have not read about this case either so am only going on what the OP said.

HildaW Fri 22-Jul-11 14:59:41

Funnily enough we recently had a thread about drinking when 'baby sitting' and several folks thought it was perfectly ok to do so. In fact those of us who posted that is was definately not OK to drink were made to feel as if we were being over cautious!

Divawithattitude Fri 22-Jul-11 15:37:55

But as was said at the time there is a huge difference betweeen a glass of wine with a late meal and being out cold on the sofa......................

absentgrana Fri 22-Jul-11 16:03:45

If she was in the habit of drinking until she passed out, the parents should not have trusted her with the child, but then they were in the pub, apparently, though not necessarily getting paralytic. Was the pond in their garden? If so, they were very remiss in not fencing it off. What a terrible story but I doubt that sending the grandmother to prison would serve any useful purpose. The damage has been done and, while she may still drink until she passes out, she's unlikely to be left in charge of children again. Just because she was irresponsible, doesn't mean she didn't love her grandchild and her sense of guilt must be overpowering.

Barrow Sat 23-Jul-11 09:02:42

I have now read more about this - apparently the grandmother was a known alcoholic, her house was dirty and the floors covered with animal excrement. The pond was in her garden and not fenced off. Knowing she was an alcoholic the parents should never have left the child with her. As I said I am sure she is very sorry for the death of the child but she knew he was there, she knew he was her responsibility whilst the parents were not there but she still drank herself into a stupor - all my sympathies are with the child not her.

absentgrana Sat 23-Jul-11 15:10:25

I'm not particularly sympathetic towards the grandmother and feel that the parents behaved very irresponsibly. I just doubt the usefulness of sending any of them to prison.

Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 15:15:51

They will just learn how to cheat the benefits system more efficiently, and to hate authority even more.

glassortwo Sat 23-Jul-11 15:17:12

I agree absent

suemck146 Sat 23-Jul-11 15:21:27

How sad this story is. No winners, only losers. Isn't that fact that they are obviously unable to function properly and that they have lost a child/grandchild punishment enough. I see no benefit in sending someone to prison, these people need help..

riclorian Sat 23-Jul-11 15:21:37

I have not read about this story , but from what I have heard from all of you , I shall take a very hard stance on this . As far as I am concerned the grandmother should be banned from ever being in charge of a child again , and the parents should not be allowed to have anymore . I know this sounds ( and probably is ) very harsh , but maybe some severe punishment might be a deterrent for other neglectful adults . Difficult to police I know , but something must be done , there is far too much child neglect and abuse in this country.

Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 15:37:09

It does get tricky enforcing that. Do you sterilise her? Abort any child she has? Take it away at birth?

I read about a woman who was about to have her 10th child (I think) taken away at birth. she said she was just going to have more and more.

greenmossgiel Sat 23-Jul-11 15:38:39

Was this in Britain, Elegran?

Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 15:51:16


greenmossgiel Sat 23-Jul-11 15:59:24

Those poor babies. What chance do they have? It's just about impossible for any authority to have any control over this sort of thing. It will be looked on as her right to have these children but what about the child's rights?

Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 18:50:34

Greenmossgiel - I have tracked down the story I was posting about. It was not 10 - it was 13!!!! The Daily Mail, of course, is more concerned about the poor mother's rights than the babies' chances of happiness.

grannyactivist Sat 23-Jul-11 19:30:34

What a tragedy - but wait five minutes and someone will blame a social worker!

glammanana Sat 23-Jul-11 19:40:02

I have always been of the opinion that social workers should be women and men like
us who have already brought their family up and know the problems faced in
families,also they would not no for an answer when they where refused entry to a household that may have a problem.

fillygumbo Sun 24-Jul-11 12:38:51

yes I think she should ha ve gon e to prison, the tot was in her care and she should not have taken her eyes off him

helshea Sun 24-Jul-11 17:56:54

After reading all the posts I think that the parents are definitely the most to blame here... they knew she was an alcoholic, they also knew the house was filthy. Anyone who would leave their child in this situation I can not comprehend. Did the grandmother even realise the child was their?

JessM Mon 25-Jul-11 17:36:06

Should we defend the rights of people who are plainly not equipped to provide for the needs of a child. Their right to breed? Their right not to have their children taken into care? Their right to abuse or neglect their children? There are no absolutes are there. This is a much more heated debate in the States where the issue of whether drug addicts who repeatedly give birth should have rights respected or be paid to be sterilised? Does it make sense to argue whether or not someone has a right not to be born?
No easy answers - but it interesting, is it not, that in UK you can be legally banned from keeping a dog... but not I think banned from looking after a child. I think the social workers have to keep making the case...

maxgran Wed 27-Jul-11 16:41:21

Perhaps drinking to excess is a way of life for the whole family ? Perhaps living in a dirty house was normal to them too ?
The parents were in a pub and left the child with an alcoholic grandmother ?
They had probably done this many many times without the child coming to any harm and were probably complacent.
To be honest - I would have them all sent to prison !

Jangran Sun 07-Aug-11 13:33:52

Prison does not work, except perhaps for punishment, which, presumably, this particular grandparent has already suffered.

It looks as if the family were dysfunctional, therefore there is a case for intervention, and intervention is supposed to be centred around the child's well-being.

Incidentally, there is no fair comparison to be made between having a social glass of wine whilst your grandchild is peacefully sleeping, and getting totally paralytic whilst your grandchild is up and playing.

Drinking is not the same thing as drunkenness, and drunkenness is not the same thing as alcoholism.