Tots found in blazing flat - mum charged

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FIREFIGHTERS who forced their way into a flat to tackle a blaze found three young children inside alone.

The children were aged nine and six, with the youngest just 11 months old.

A 26-year-old woman appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court last week facing three charges of neglecting a child – one for each of the three children. She pleaded guilty to all three.

Firefighters were called to the ground floor flat in the Halton area of Hastings, on the evening of February 12 after an alarm sounded.

Mark Kateley, prosecuting, said: “They had to force their way in and found that a fire had started in the kitchen. There were three young children in the flat, aged nine, six and 11 months. There were no adults in the flat.

“Food had been left in the oven and that is what started the fire.

“Firemen were concerned about the state of the flat. The children were taken into protection.

“As they were taken into protection the nine-year-old said: ‘The reason she does this is so we can have nice things’.”

“The mother was arrested for child neglect. She told police there had been a power cut in the flat during the afternoon as she was cooking some chicken.

“She said that she was suffering from menstrual pain and had walked to the Morrisons petrol station to get some stronger medication.

“She told police the children’s father was working in London.”

“She has no previous convictions.”

Mark Glendenning, defending, said: “She had only been out for a short while.

“The electricity came back on while she was out and items left in the oven overcooked and burned.”

Magistrates referred the matter to crown court for sentencing. She was released on unconditional bail.