Dad who admitted neglecting daughter after her death has jail term quashed

Michael Conroy, 28, had his 62-week jail term quashed and was instead handed 200 hours unpaid work.

Michael Conroy who admitted neglecting daughter Keira has jail term quashed and given payback order iStock

A father who admitted neglecting his infant daughter following her death has had his jail sentence quashed.

Michael Conroy failed to provide proper nourishment and fluids for 19-month-old Keira and left her alone and unattended for excessive periods at a house in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.

The 28-year-old was jailed for 62 weeks earlier this year at Airdrie Sheriff Court after admitting wilfully neglecting the child between December 18 and 20 in 2017 in a way likely to cause her unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

He also failed to provide suitable living conditions for his daughter who was also exposed to the drug street Valium, although there was no suggestion she ingested it. 

Keira, who was born premature, was found pale and cold and attempts at resuscitation failed.  

But lawyers acting for Conroy successfully challenged the prison sentence imposed on him at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

Defence counsel Craig Findlater told appeal judges: “The wilful neglect in this case was not directly linked to the death of the child.”

“This is not a case where there was an overriding callousness or vindictiveness. Rather this was one where there was a lack of responsibility by the appellant who of course was a young person at the time,” said Mr Findlater.

He said Conroy was still in a relationship with the mother of the child and they have another child.

Lord Doherty, who heard the appeal with Lord Malcolm, said it was “an anxious case” for the sentencing sheriff who gave it careful consideration.

A background report prepared on Conroy indicated that he was suitable for a non-custodial disposal but the sheriff considered that a jail term was necessary because of the seriousness of the offence.

Lord Doherty said the appeal judges were satisfied that an alternative disposal was available and appropriate and imposed a community payback order with 200 hours unpaid work. 

“We shall allow the appeal and quash the sentence imposed by the sheriff, ” said the judge.

Lord Doherty said at the time of the offence Conroy was 24 and had not yet reached full maturity. He had a difficult upbringing and had mental health issues.

He had not previously served a custodial sentence and has not offended further in the intervening period.

Conroy followed the appeal proceedings via a video link to Addiewell prison, in West Lothian.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code