French Woman Gets 18 Months Prison For Leaving Son, 9, Alone For 2 Years

The boy appeared to survive on cake, canned goods and stolen tomatoes. (Representative pic)

A 39-year-old woman in France has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for abandoning her 9-year-old son for 2 years. According to CNN, the woman, identified as Alexandra, left her son to live alone in the family’s apartment from 2020 to 2022. The boy appeared to survive on cake, canned goods and stolen tomatoes, often without heating or electricity. The mother, on the other hand, lived with her partner in another apartment 5 kilometres away and would only visit the child from “time to time”. 

The Mayor of Nersac, the town where the boy lived, said that the child often did not have hot water or heating. Nevertheless, he continued attending school during this time and was a good student, Nersac Mayor Barbara Couturier stated, as per the outlet. She also said that she alerted the local and national police about the situation after the mother asked social services to help buy food. 

“I met his mom in May 2022. She came to tell us that she had financial problems, and we gave her four vouchers for food, but she took some processed food products instead so that got me suspicious. Some residents told me that there was a child living alone, so I connected the two things and I called the local police and the national police,” Ms Couturier explained. 

Citing a local French media outlet, People reported that 12 months of the mother’s sentence was suspended and she will serve the remaining six months under home confinement. The mayor said that the child had been under the care of social services since September 19, 2022.

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In court, the judge dismissed Ms Alexandra’s defence that she lived in the flat with her son. Evidence from neighbours and mobile data collected by local police contradicted her claims.  

According to Mirror, the 9-year-old’s ability to look after himself helped keep authorities unaware. A classmate revealed that the boy told his friends he ate alone and travelled on the bus alone. He didn’t even go out much and liked staying home, the friend said. 

Neighbours expressed guilt for not intervening sooner to stop the neglect. They said that modern life’s privacy helped hide the mother’s action for so long. “When there was a family and a village around the family, if the mother neglected the child, it didn’t matter too much, because the rest of the family and the whole village took care of the child. It’s not like that any more,” one resident said. 

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