Glasgow & West Scotland

Child neglect couple Ashley McDonald and Marc Morrison given probation

Ashley McDonald and Marc Morrison
Image caption Ashley McDonald and Marc Morrison were convicted of neglecting baby Anton

A couple who were convicted of neglecting their baby son, who later died from a rare bowel disease, have been sentenced to 18 months' probation.

Ashley McDonald, 20, and Marc Morrison, 21, were convicted of the neglect between January and February 2011 at their home in Thornliebank, Glasgow.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the flat was strewn with waste and baby Anton slept in a dirty cot and was not given proper medication after an operation.

The child died aged three months.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Stuart Reid said: "Nothing the accused did or failed to do caused or contributed to the death of their son, and nothing the accused did or failed to do caused actual bodily harm to their son."

'Vulnerable couple'

He said they had been convicted of giving rise to a real risk of injury to the health of the baby.

The sheriff added: "They failed to attain standards of care and attention expected of a reasonable parent."

The sheriff recognised they were both "vulnerable" and that McDonald was probably suffering from post-natal depression at the time.

Speaking after the sentence was passed, McDonald's step-father, Robert McDonald, said: "Nothing has changed except Anton is gone.

"I think they should have been sentenced, two years each at least."

Photographs of McDonald and Morrison's flat were shown in court during the couple's trial.

The pictures, taken on the day Anton died, showed a carry cot with a stained mattress and cover, bin bags in the kitchen, potato peelings on the worktop and a messy bedroom.

Photographs also showed a number of used nappies in the hallway and bottles with traces of milk.

Dr Karen Wedlock, the GP who referred Anton to hospital for a hernia, said the carry cot looked as though the nappies had been allowed to overflow, causing staining.

She said the mattress and cover had a "quite strong" smell and were stained with urine.

Cardiac arrest

Paramedic Frances McIntosh broke down in the court as she told how Anton had dirty fingernails when she attended the couple's flat and found the baby suffering a cardiac arrest on 3 February last year.

She said Anton was wrapped in a dirty blanket from his cot and that the hallway of the flat was littered with more than 20 nappies.

Mrs McIntosh said Morrison opened the door to the flat and they were shown to a bedroom where Anton was lying.

The court was told that a bad smell was noticeable when the door was opened.

She said: "The baby was lying on his back with his hands above his shoulders, he had fluid in his mouth, he had no signs of life."

She added that she drained the fluid from his mouth and confirmed he was suffering from a cardiac arrest and carried out CPR all the way to the hospital.

When asked if she noticed anything about the baby, Mrs McIntosh said: "I noticed the baby didn't smell very clean, his fingernails were dirty."

She also described the blanket used to wrap him as "dirty".

'Sweets and crisps'

The court heard how police searched the flat following Anton's death.

An envelope was found on the bathroom floor with a note describing what had to be done to clean the home.

This included "fag ends in toilet" and "sweets and crisps all over the place".

It also had written "no vest or bottoms on Anton" as well as "dishes in sink".

It was further listed there was half-eaten food in the living room and "no fresh water in steriliser".

The court was told there were more than 10 used nappies found in the flat.

A total of 11 bags of waste were also discovered inside the home as well as another 10 on a balcony.

Defence advocate Margaret Breslin for McDonald said she was a teenager at the time who came from a "non-nurtured environment" and had a lack of support from her family.

The court heard Morrison was made homeless and his defence advocate Alice Taggart said he came from a background of "social isolation".

Both sets of parents branded these claims as "lies".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites