Exhausted mother who fell asleep after drinking cider woke to find baby son dead

PUBLISHED: 16:42 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:54 21 July 2018

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


An exhausted mother drank cider and took recreational drugs before falling asleep on a sofa with her four week old son only to wake up to find him dead, a court heard.

Victoria Chatland, 37, had taken a small amount of cocaine and cannabis and drunk three or four cans of cider when she unintentionally fell asleep holding Jordi, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The court heard that when emergency services attended she said: “It’s my fault, I’ve killed him!”

Chatland, of Thornfield Way, Norwich, who was crying and clutching a memory bear in the dock, admitted neglect to a child on November 11, 2016 and was given a 16 month jail sentence suspended for two years.

Judge Stephen Holt told her: “This is the most tragic case. You had taken cocaine and taken some cannabis.”

He accepted the illicit drugs were at a low level and she had also drank three or four cans of cider before she fell asleep with the child rather than returning him to his Moses basket and said: “This was a one-off incident. You have always accepted your responsibility and shown deep remorse.”

Michael Clare, for Chatland, said it had been irresponsible of her to have taken the cannabis and cocaine and then she made the bad decision of lying on the sofa with her child rather than putting him back in his basket.

“She must have fallen asleep and had the horror of waking up and finding her child dead on the sofa. She accepts responsibilty.”

He said the defendant had chosen to plead guilty: “She wants to accept responsibility. She wanted to plead guilty.”

He said: “She will live with this for the rest of her life. She has learnt the hardest lesson.”

He said in the two years since the tragedy she had undergone courses and no longer took any drugs or alcohol.

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