Boys, four and six, escape from home after being left alone in Bridlington

Demi Heffernan
Demi Heffernan Credit: MEN Media

A mother whose two young sons were found in the street in the early hours of the morning after she left them alone at their home in Bridlington has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Demi Heffernan, 25, had been drinking when she disappeared on 1 April last year, leaving the boys, aged four and six, inside.

Hull Crown Court heard how the boys used a chair to climb out of a window before the older one knocked on a neighbour's door at 12.15am. The other was found in the street.

Richard Thompson, prosecuting, said Heffernan had been drinking at the home of a female neighbour before leaving to put the two children to bed.

She intended to return to the neighbour's house but failed to turn up. When the children were found, the neighbour called police.

Heffernan did not return until about 1.15am.

Mr Thompson said: "The children were taken to be cared for by their grandparents.

"They were on their own for about two hours, maybe a little bit longer."

He added: "The children were tired and distressed."

Heffernan, who had convictions for offences including public disorder, criminal damage and drink driving, admitted child cruelty.

Michele Stuart-Lofthouse, mitigating, told the court: "It's the biggest regret of her life that this incident unfolded.

"At the time of this occurring, but it's little excuse at all, she was having a number of difficulties in her life."

Judge John Thackray QC told Heffernan: "You made the decision at 10.30pm to leave two young children fending for themselves at home, aged four and six.

"It must have been extremely frightening for them. They were described by police when they attended the scene at about 1am as distressed.

"They were seen in the street. That's the actual harm you caused.

"What would have happened if there had been a fire? What would have happened if a stranger had taken one of your children?"

Heffernan was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence and 200 hours' unpaid work.