A grandmother faces being sent to prison after she admitting subjecting her granddaughter to a catalogue of neglect for more than five years.
School staff eventually became so concerned for the state of the youngster, who was filthy and smelled of smoke and urine in class, that the police were called in.
A court was told on Wednesday that the child was repeatedly infested with lice and could not see properly because she had not been given the glasses she needed.
The 49-year-old woman admitted failing to seek medical, eye and dental care for the toddler, who cannot be identified, in a course of abuse which began before the little girl turned two.
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told the grandmother, who has no previous convictions, that her status as a first offender may not be enough to prevent her being sent to Cornton Vale prison.
Fiscal depute Carol Whyte told Perth Sheriff Court: "Between 1 January 2006 and 9 May 2011 the nursery and primary school kept a log of concern in relation to the child. She was unkempt and her clothes were constantly dirty. She had head lice regularly, every few months. Correspondence was sent to the accused. The child smelled strongly of urine and smoke. This was commented on by other pupils. During a medical exam it was found that the child had vision difficulties. Appointments were set up for the grandmother, who was the child's official carer, but she never took the child to the optician and she went without glasses for over three months."
Miss Whyte told the court that the child was absent from school for 92 days during primary one and more than two-thirds of those absences were unexplained.
"Social workers were contacted in relation to the concerns. That led to the child being removed and the accused being detained by the police," she said.
The 49-year-old from Perth admitted that between 1 January 2006 and 9 May 2011 she wilfully neglected a child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health. She admitted failing to seek adequate medical, eye and dental care, failing to ensure standards of hygiene were maintained, leaving her regularly smelling of urine and smoke and being infested with head lice. She admitted failing to provide the child with clean clothing and failing to ensure she attended school on a satisfactory basis.
The offences took place at addresses in Perthshire.
Solicitor Steve Lafferty, defending, said: "She has found it very difficult to accept culpability. She has had difficulty with agoraphobia in the past which has impacted on her personal care and on her granddaughter. Over the five years things have not been all bad. She has endeavoured to try and get rid of the lice, but clearly there have been failings, no doubt about it."
Sheriff Foulis said: "I am considering a custodial sentence. There is no other realistic disposal. Custody is very much in my mind. She doesn't accept responsibility. There is no acceptance on her part that over the course of five years she has effectively neglected her granddaughter. None at all. That is against a background where there are headlines every few months about another young child dying of neglect. These cases are brought because if they are not then there is perhaps another case where a child is ill-treated and loses their life. That is a fact. It is extremely serious."
Sentence was deferred to allow for the preparation of a medical report on the accused.
The court heard the child had been permanently removed from her grandmother's care.
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