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Drunken father slapped pub tot.

A father who assaulted and ill-treated his young son by leaving him for eight hours in the bar of a Warwick pub without feeding or changing him has escaped jail.

Michael Rich, who has already been dealt with by magistrates for being drunk in charge of the toddler after leaving the pub, was given a suspended prison sentence.

Rich (24), of Cameo Court, Balsall Common, Warwickshire, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of cruelty to his 22-month-old son Kyle in November last year.

He was sentenced to 51 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and given two years supervision with a condition that he attends a Think First programme. Glyn Samuel, prosecuting, said the first offence related to Rich slapping Kyle in the face and grabbing him aggressively. He then caused him unnecessary suffering by swearing at him and confining him in the bar of the Porridge Pot pub at Long-bridge Manor, Warwick, for at least eight hours without food or a change of nappy.

Kyle was "completely soaked" when he was seen by police 15 minutes after Rich left the pub, and was taken to hospital where he was given a complete change of clothing.

Mr Samuel said Rich went to the pub just after 1pm and by early evening customers were concerned there was a young child in the bar. "The defendant was getting louder and drunker during the evening, and some customers left, making complaints to the staff about his behaviour."

Rich shouted abuse at Kyle and grabbed him before giving him a back-handed slap across the face' outside the pub he slapped the child on the legs, said Mr Samuel. Shortly afterwards Rich's two friends got into a car which Rich drove off the car park seconds before police arrived.

He was stopped 15 minutes later with Kyle in the back of the car "completely soaked"' Rich was nearly three times the legal alcohol limit.

Magistrates have since given him an 18-month community order for driving with excess alcohol and fined him pounds 500 for being drunk in charge of a child, added Mr Samuel.

Lee Marklew, defending, said Rich had been heavily into drugs and alcohol, but in November was jailed for dangerous driving' since then social workers said there had been a "miraculous change" in him. He had changed his ways and was determined to be a good father to his son, who is subject to an interim care order and living with Rich's parents, added Mr Marklew.

Judge Richard Cole said he had decided to deal with Rich in a "totally exceptional way" by imposing a suspended sentence.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 10, 2006
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