Mother Jailed After She Checked Facebook While Her Two-Year-Old Son Drowned


A mother whose young son drowned in a garden pond while she was distracted by checking a comment on Facebook, has been jailed for five years.

Claire Barnett, 31, was inside her house looking at her phone and using the social networking site as two-year-old Joshua Barnett was playing in the family garden in Beverley, East Yorkshire on March 17 last year.

The toddler fell into a pond and, when Claire realised what had happened and attempted to save him, it was too late.


She dragged him from the pond, unconscious, and he died in hospital a short time later.

The mother-of-four, who now lives in Nottingham, pleaded guilty to four charges of neglect at Hull Crown Court.

She initially gave differing stories to police about the incident and, on another occasion, she reportedly let Joshua and another young child play outside unsupervised in the road. Social services were called after the children were nearly hit by a car.


Passing sentence, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said Barnett’s “lamentably appalling parenting led to fatal consequences”.

Speaking in court, Judge Richardson said:

Your son died due to your neglectful conduct. You will have to live with that for the remainder of your life. For a parent to behave as you did, repeatedly, amounts to consistently bad parenting. I trust that you will never be allowed to have further unsupervised contact to any child.

If you should have any further children, they will almost certainly be removed from you. You pose very serious risks to any child for whom you might have responsibility.