Swim shame: Dad was drunk in charge of daughter at Sunderland pool

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A DRUNKEN dad took his five-year-old daughter swimming after downing four cans of lager – and forgot to take her armbands.

Staff at Hetton Leisure Centre alerted police after John Greenhow clashed with them, when the child slipped under the water.

A children’s charity today criticised Greenhow, saying the outcome could have been tragic.

Officers arrived shortly before 3pm and discovered the 32-year-old, his brother and the child in the changing rooms.

Magistrates were told the two

men smelt of alcohol and Greenhow began shouting and swearing at police after he was arrested, while the youngster begged them “not to take away her dad”.

Greenhow, from Burnside Estate in Houghton, pleaded guilty to being drunk in charge of a child at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Janice Bellamy, prosecuting, said the girl lived with her mother in Sunderland but Greenhow had been looking after her on April 11.

He began boozing after midday and finished four cans of lager before taking his daughter swimming, with her uncle, who had also been drinking.

The dad, who has previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly, claimed trouble flared when lifeguards intervened after the little girl was submerged.

Mrs Bellamy added: “He said in the pool his brother lost his footing and that caused her to go under the water a brief period, causing the lifeguards to come to her assistance.

“He said she would normally wear life bands, but her mother had forgotten to pack them.”

David Sherwood-Smith, defending, said Greenhow, of Sherburn Grove, had no intention of going swimming but was “anxious” his daughter enjoyed the time they share together.

He said: “He had no intention of going swimming. The plan was to stay home and play with her.

“She asked to go swimming and was told it was not possible, but she persisted and he did not want to disappoint her.”

He added that Greenhow became angry after he saw his daughter being led away by a man at the pool, who he did not realise was a member of staff.

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with supervision and ordered he pay £85 towards court costs and a £65 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the case child protection charity Kidscape, slammed the father.

Chief executive Claude Knights said: “It is so fortunate that this little girl came to no lasting harm during an incident, which could have had tragic consequences.

“Young children, alcohol and water certainly do not mix. It is to be hoped that lessons have been learned and that this young child’s safety will be a top priority in the future.”