Before being convicted for child cruelty, a mother who left her infant son to die in his cot smiled for photos outside of court. The one-year-old was left alone for two hours when the temperature reached 27°C and there was no fan or open windows. Stacey Davis, 31, left her son, Ethan, alone in his cot while she left to go to the local park and run errands during a particularly hot day in the summer of 2018
Ethan’s lifeless body was found in his cot when she returned two hours later after leaving without checking on him for a further thirty minutes and instead texted a friend. On June 27, 2018, he was proclaimed dead not long after getting to the hospital.
After a post-mortem, it was determined that he had a five-inch skull fracture, but the exact cause of death was still unknown. She stated that despite swelling, bruises, and obvious tension, she didn’t take him to the hospital despite the fact that he had fallen and hit his head.
Mark Ashley, her defence attorney, claimed that she had post-natal depression as a result of the child’s premature birth via C-section and subsequent need for colon surgery, which required a two-month hospital stay.
He claimed that she had a hard time connecting with Ethan and that she didn’t go to the hospital much since she couldn’t get transport from her relatives.
Cannabis was discovered in Ethan’s hair, which Davis claimed was a result of her frequent marijuana use in his presence. He was interrupted by Judge Parkes KC, who said, “It was incredibly stupid. There is no evidence you or his father caused Ethan’s death, and there is no suggestion you did so,’ Judge Parkes KC stated in describing Davis’s actions as “thoroughly selfish” imprisoning her for two years.
In summing up Judge Parkes KC said of Davis ‘The sad fact is that you fell very seriously short of the duty owed to Ethan as his mother. He suffered a 15cm skull fracture one-to-three weeks before his death, likely to be from blunt impact of significant force.’
‘You failed to seek medical attention for the injury to his head. Any normal parent would put the child’s health before anything. It is clear you abandoned him on two occasions, including the day of this death. This is aggravated by the fact it happened twice. You left Ethan alone in his cot in a room with a closed window.’
‘What is particularly appalling about this episode is that you spent half an hour on the phone, sending and receiving messages [when you arrived home], until you went to check on Ethan. You had not seen him, checked on him, for nearly three hours.’
Although Davis has begun a drug treatment programme, she smoked this week because her “stress levels were particularly high.” It could be hoped that when she is serious about her obvious problematic addiction that perhaps the drug treatment programme will help her actually deal with the enormity of her actions.