Mother jailed after going to pub while daughter lay dying

By Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland
·4 min read

A mother who left her dying 13-year-old daughter at home while she went to the pub has been jailed for three years and six months.

Robyn Goldie developed peritonitis and died on July 26 2018 having suffered a perforated duodenal ulcer after her mother Sharon Goldie failed to seek medical treatment for her.

The court heard that in the week before she died the teenager tried to get treatment but Goldie stopped her from doing so.

Goldie, 45, pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing to wilfully ill treating and neglecting her daughter in a manner likely to cause her unnecessary suffering or injury to health between July 12 2017 and July 26 2018.

She admitted failing to provide her daughter with adequate food, clothing or heating, hitting her, and permitting her to smoke cannabis and drink alcohol.

The 45-year-old, from Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, pleaded guilty to exposing her to unhygienic living conditions including cat urine and cat faeces, which led to her getting fleas.

Sentencing her in a High Court sitting at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, Lord Beckett told Goldie she showed “considerable cruelty over a prolonged period” and said there was no alternative to a custodial sentence.

He said: “Even if your daughter could sometimes be challenging and difficult, she was subjected to a terrible ordeal of neglect and ill treatment by you over a long period.

“You had enough money to provide food for your daughter but chose not to and purchased alcohol and cannabis, you gave this to your daughter instead of adequate nutrition.”

The court heard Robyn was feeling unwell in the week before her death and by July 24 was pale and shivering, and said she needed an ambulance but her mother refused.

She also refused a friend’s offer to take Robyn to hospital in a taxi.

On July 25, Robyn was in the garden asking a neighbour to help her get an ambulance and saying she could not breathe but again Ms Goldie intervened and took her back inside.

Describing July 26, the day Robyn died, Lord Beckett said: “Your daughter was in pain that afternoon, you gave her a painkiller and went to the pub.

“By the time you came home she was slumped on the sofa but you and your friend went into the garden to have a drink because the weather was nice.

“She was dead an hour later.”

Prosecutors accepted Goldie’s not guilty plea to a charge of culpable homicide.

The court heard Goldie suffered a serious traumatic brain injury when she was nine, which affected her cognitively and physically and has had an impact on her ability to manage over the years

Solicitor advocate Marco Guarino, representing Goldie said: “This is a lady who clearly has difficulties both mentally and physically, impacting on her ability in how to view things and the consequences of actions or omissions and I think that lies at the root of her culpability in this case.

“I can say to my Lord there is no punishment this court can impose that will be greater than the one she is suffering just now as a result of her actions, the death of her child.”

He told the court Goldie’s 25-year-old daughter recently died in tragic circumstances in China and she has one remaining child, a 23-year-old son.

An NSPCC Scotland spokeswoman said: “Goldie failed in her duty as a parent to provide food, heating and medical help for her daughter.

“She put her own desires before her child’s needs, repeatedly ignoring Robyn’s pleas of distress.

“This deeply disturbing and tragic case shines a spotlight on the devastating impact that neglect can have on a child’s life.”

Kenny Donnelly, procurator fiscal for the High Court, said: “By putting her own interests above caring for her daughter, Sharon Goldie completely failed in her duty as a parent.

“Robyn suffered an extended period of neglect at the hands of her mother, and was ultimately left to die alone without medical help.

“This was a challenging case and a distressing crime.

“Our thoughts are with Robyn’s loved ones as they attempt to come to terms with what happened.”