It could be argued that I don’t stand often enough against the tide of lazy misogynist shite the Daily Mail peddles, but today I do.
A mother who neglected her three children and let her two dogs starve to death after becoming obsessed with a computer game has been given a suspended jail sentence and banned from using computers by a judge in Kent.
Her German shepherd and lurcher dog lay rotting in the dining room for two months as the 33-year-old widow played Small World on the internet almost non-stop.
After a neighbour peered through the letterbox and saw the ‘appalling conditions’, the NSPCC were told and police officers gagged as they entered the home and saw the ‘decay and filth’.
The toilet was in a disgusting state. The woman tried to block officers from entering the dining room and when asked why she replied: “All right, my dogs are in there. They are dead. I killed them.
‘I probably starved them, probably because I have been playing the computer game all the time.’
‘She started playing initially for an hour a day in late 2009 but since August of that year it had become an obsession to the point where she was only getting two hours sleep a night,’ said the prosecutor.
‘She still managed to feed the children and get them to school but accepted she let everything else go. Afterwards, it became so overwhelming she didn’t know where to start.
‘It got to the stage where she only bought food that didn’t need cooking. She fed the children pot noodles, sandwiches, chips and pies. She was ashamed.’
Scum! Hang her! Flog her! Feed ‘er to the pigs, Errol.
Well, no actually. Hang on a minute.
Allan Compton, defending, said the woman had been a devoted and competent mother until tragedy struck some years ago with the death of her husband from a heart attack.
‘She retreated into this virtual world provided by her laptop computer,’ he said. ‘She shut herself off from the outside world and operated in the real world on a very basic level.
This puts an altogether different complexion on the case.
The mother was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to do 75 hours unpaid work. She was banned from keeping animals.
I understand that banning her from keeping animals for a period is for the best. I also understand that her kids going into care – temporarily – is probably for the best.
But what purpose does the suspended prison sentence or the unpaid work serve, at all?
And what of this:
Judge Carey banned the woman from having any internet access ‘to assist you to resist the temptation to return to this virtual world’.
This is akin to banning an alcoholic from buying wine. Completely misses the point. It could be a Tamagotchi or a Nintendo DS game next.
And that’s not the only way in which Judge Carey appears to miss the point.
Judge Jeremy Carey told her: ‘I am satisfied you have been a good mother but your life went very badly wrong when you became obsessed with the Small World computer game.’
Errrr. Wait a minute. Didn’t her husband die of a heart attack, leaving her with 3 children to take care of?
You don’t think that may have been the point at which her life ‘went very badly wrong’?
This woman doesn’t need punishing. She doesn’t need opprobrium. She needs help.
What did her psychiatric evaluation conclude? I suppose that completely missed the point as well, being conducted by a low-grade state-appointed ideologue. And her legal team? How did this terribly sad case end up going down this route at all?
I just can’t see how the best interests of anyone at all are being fulfilled here at all. It stinks of the heavy-handed inhuman state making its mark. Again.
I’m almost tempted to go and see what’s being said about this on Mumsnet, but I dread the prospect of unearthing a lynch-mob of hatched faced hormonal harridans.
UPDATE: A further thought on banning this woman from accessing the Internet.
I was given to believe that, rightly or wrongly, access to the Internet had now been elevated to the status of being a human right.
I can quite understand that the life of a single parent is at time very lonely and isolated, and that access to the Internet is a massive help in so many ways.
It’s not as if this woman has used the Internet to cause or incite harm, like, for example, someone consuming child pr0n would be.
So the act of banning her from the Internet seems quite cruel in itself.
Some kind of therapy for her addictive behaviour would seem like a far more useful approach.
Oh and does she have a mobile phone that has access to the Internet? Has she been forced to change to an old-skool mobile phone because of this?