A mother has been branded "utterly selfish and irresponsible" after leaving her four young children at home on their own while she spent a night out in Cleethorpes.
Ursula Rodgers, (36), left her four children, including one aged just three-years-old, at her home in Rednal, Birmingham, while she went away with her boyfriend.
Police were called to her home, in St Columbas Drive, and found the young-est child naked and undernourished and another sleeping on a "rotting mattress".
The mother-of-five was told by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court that she had narrowly avoided a prison sentence.
"Somebody is meant to keep the house clean and make sure the children are properly fed. In a single parent family, if you do not do it, it does not get done," said Judge Phillip Gregory.
"You are now 36 years old and you have the privilege of four children to care for and look after. You abandoned your responsibility to them. Your priority lay in a short-term relationship with a man who appears to be a serious criminal.
"You rushed off to the other side of the country, for whatever reason, in the most selfish, thoughtless and irresponsible way.
"The conditions in which you were keeping these children are nothing short of disgusting."
Rodgers pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty to a person under 16 - the children were then aged three, eight, nine and 13. She was sentenced to a two-year community rehabilitation order and given a curfew order, banning her from leaving her house between 7pm and 6am for the next six months.
Police were alerted after a tip off to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children on June 6 last year, said Anthony Warner, prosecuting.
Rodgers had left the children at home and had asked her brother to come and look after them. He did not turn up, claiming he "could not find his bus ticket".
Police tried to contact Rodgers on her mobile, but there was no reply. She had left £40 with her eldest son, aged 13.
Sentencing her, Judge Gregory said: "I have thought about that hard and long and that I am more worried about your young children than you."
After the court hearing, Rodgers said she had been the victim of a violent boyfriend, who was now in prison.
Speaking from her home in Rednal, she said: "I was in an abusive relation-ship in June last year. I didn't want to leave the children. I tried to make arrangements, but my brother couldn't make it from Stechford because he lost his bus ticket.
"I though it would be all right to leave my son to look after the others, including the three-year-old, for a few hours until my brother got here, so I went to Grimsby.
"I didn't know the law had changed. I thought it was all right to leave a 14-year-old." ..SUPL: