A mum left her four-year-old daughter along at home with a “malnourished dog” so she could “go to the pub”, a court has heard.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the identity of her daughter, left the girl alone at their home in Bolton in February this year.

Bolton Crown Court heard how after the girl was taken to safety by police, she was asked to draw a picture showing how she felt.

Prosecutor Dawn Thomas said: “She drew a picture of herself with a sad face in a cage.

“She said that a bad man had put her in the cage.”

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

The mother, who appeared in the dock dressed all in black, wept openly as Ms Thomas described the conditions her four-year-old daughter had been subjected to.

The court heard how the girl had been found after a friend of her mum’s checked on the house and alerted another man who helped bring her to safety.

Ms Thomas said: “He entered the house through an open window, there was nobody at home in the house except a malnourished dog.”

She told the court how police were called and found the house to be “unkempt”, with the kitchen smelling of urine, which had pooled at various points, bags of rubbish littering the floor and no food apart from frozen vegetables.

Ms Thomas said that the house was also strewn at various points with dog mess that had been there so long that it was moulding.

While the mum had been at the pub, she had lied to other people that her daughter was at a children's play centre.

But after returning from spending the night at a Premier Inn with the man she had met, the mum was arrested.

The woman, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to causing injury, ill treatment or neglect to a young person when brought before Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court.

Alex Beevers, defending, admitted that he was dealing with a “distressing” case but said that the woman had shown a “palpable sense of shame” since her arrest.

He said that her guilty to plea spoke to “a very genuine remorse".

Mr Beevers told the court that the woman had a “very different side to her” and had once been a “robust individual” but that her life had “spiralled” into crack cocaine use and a series of abusive relationships with men.

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He said that she had worked most of her life, had qualifications and that she did not pose a risk “generally to society".

But Recorder Nathan Moxon reminded the court of the “disgraceful and disgusting circumstances” that the girl had been left in.

Addressing the mum, he told her that the girl had had to endure this “when you went to the pub and then a hotel with a man".

Recorder Moxon added: “Rarely do I see an act of such callous selfishness.”

He sentenced the woman to 20 months in prison and she was led in tears from the dock into the cells below.