A Dunfermline woman was supposed to be looking after a little girl who fell out of a first floor window.
Kelly Debruijn had been chatting online and left the child unsupervised at an address in the city when the horrific incident took place.
Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard the 31-year-old also allowed the girl to stay in “squalor” in a property with a fly infestation and rooms full of rubbish.
It was ascertained the young girl could have climbed up a black bin bag to the window before the near-tragedy.
Debruijn appeared in the dock for sentencing having previously pled guilty to wilfully neglecting and exposing the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering and injury to health at the address, between July 27 and August 12 2022.
Sheriff Garry Sutherland told Debruijn it was almost “bordering on unbelievable” a child was unsupervised to the extent they fell out of a first floor flat window but he stopped short of jailing her due to “difficulties” she is suffering.
First floor fall
Prosecutor Isma Mukhtar told the court that on August 12 2022 Debruijn was in a property with the child and “chatting online”.
She said people walking past the first floor flat saw the child as she “climbed out the window and fell to the ground, landing on stones below.”
The fiscal depute continued: “The child was picked up by neighbours and comforted and (they) noted at that time she was only wearing a nappy.
“Around 6.30pm, the accused went to the toilet and when she came out heard the child screaming and she noted the child was not in the property.
“An ambulance was contacted and the child was taken to hospital.”
Nothing was said in court about whether the child was injured, or any specific detail given about what height she fell from.
Ms Mukhtar said, following a scene of crime examination by police, the condition of the flat was described as “squalor”.
The court heard human faeces were found on an uncovered mattress on the floor, where it appeared the child had been sleeping.
The property was deemed unsuitable for habitation and the rooms were described as so full of rubbish the door could not be opened.
Part of the flat was said to be “stacked high with bin bags full of rubbish”.
Ms Mukhtar said it was ascertained the child could have climbed a black bin bag up to the window.
The court heard neighbours had previously expressed concerns about the bad smell emanating from the property and the state of it and that a noise complaint was made on July 27.
On August 3 a council employee visited Debruijn and spoke to her about the state of the property and, while doing so, was having to swat flies away.
The admitted charge states Debruijn allowed the child to stay in cluttered and unhygienic conditions in a property with a fly infestation and failed to provide her with clean and adequate bedding and food.
It also states she left the child unsupervised with a first floor window open, thereby causing her to climb up to the window and fall out onto the ground below.
Sheriff Garry Sutherland told Debruijn what he had heard was “quite horrifying”.
The sheriff said for the child to not be supervised to the extent they can fall out of a first floor window is “bordering on unbelievable”.
Referring to a background report, Sheriff Sutherland noted Debruijn has “a lot of difficulties” but said these cannot excuse her failure to seek help.
He said: “Were it not for the difficulties you are suffering, I would have been sentencing you to jail today.”
Sheriff Sutherland instead sentenced Debruijn to a six-month curfew order, reduced from nine months due to her early plea.