Sunderland’s worst grandad? Man left step-grandson, seven, panicking alone so he could go drinking

Neil Robinson leaves Sunderland Magistrates' Court
Neil Robinson leaves Sunderland Magistrates' Court
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A seven-year-old boy was forced to call police in a panic after the person who was supposed to be looking after him left him home alone to go drinking.

 Neil Robinson had been trusted with the care of his step-grandson who, due to a medical condition, has “no awareness” of the dangers around him, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard.

 But instead of supervising him, 48-year-old Robinson, abandoned the boy at his home in Besford Grove, Sunderland, on October 30, and went out before returning home “intoxicated”.

 In the meantime, the frightened boy rang police “in a state of panic” after hearing noises outside the house and realising he had been left on his own.

 The boy’s mother said she was “disgusted” by Robinson’s actions.

 Prosecutor Gary Fothergill said: “The boy called police from Besford Grove at just before 10pm to say he was alone. A neighbour has then called and informed them they were taking the child into their property.

 “The boy said he was alone at his nana’s address, where he had been playing xbox when he heard a loud noise outside the address.

 “He has gone to have a look and has realised he is alone in the address. He said he was very scared and has called the police in a state of panic.”

 Mr Fothergill said a family friend arrived and contacted the child’s parents, who told officers they had left him the care of his step-grandad at 7pm, describing him as “totally sober” and the boy as “fine and content”.

 “When police were at the address, the defendant has returned in an intoxicated state,” Mr Fothergill said.

 “The boy is seven years old. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and autism and it is in danger if he is not supervised twenty-four-seven.

 “Medication needs to be taken regularly at the correct time and dosage. His awareness of the dangers around him is non-existent.”

 The boy’s mother said in a victim statement: “He can’t have been thinking about my son’s safety if he has gone and done this. This could have been a very vulnerable situation. I feel angry, disgusted, let down and all of this because of Neil’s actions.

 “This affects my relationship now with my own mum and Neil and I don’t want to see him anymore. He left my vulnerable son in the house, while he has gone out and got drunk.”

 Robinson pleaded guilty to causing a child under 16 to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

 Gerry Armstrong, defending, said the boy’s father had visited the house later in the evening and Robinson and the boy were both fine. He said the father then left at 9pm, meaning the boy could only have been left alone for less than an hour, when he called police at just before 10pm.

 Mr Armstrong said the statement from the mother, had been a “knee-jerk reaction” immediately after the incident, adding: “the family have now fully reconciled.”

 District Judge Helen Cousins asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the probation service. Robinson will be sentenced on December 9.