Dad loses custody of his daughter, 5, after leaving Alexa to babysit her while he went to the pub | The SunFebruary 1, 2023
A FECKLESS dad has lost custody of his five-year-old daughter after he left an Amazon Alexa device to babysit her while he went down the pub.
The 30-year-old father left the youngster asleep and alone to be cared for by the virtual assistant while he went out for a drink with his new girlfriend.
A court heard the man told police he had "willingly left his daughter at home" at 8pm because he could see her via the Amazon Alexa camera on his phone as he sat in the pub.
In what is thought to be a first-of-its-kind case in the UK, the dad’s actions came to light after he was arrested for strangling his new partner at the end of their drinking session.
Police were called to investigate – and he admitted leaving his daughter in his partner's home in the 3,000 population market town of Builth Wells, Powys, with her Alexa at her bedside.
Prosecutor Rebecca Ross said the child lived with the defendant half of the time and the other half of the time with her mum.
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Ms Ross said: “They had been drinking vodka and gin with lemonade at home from around 8pm. The defendant’s daughter was in the house but in bed.
“He wasn’t going to go out but he was not chuffed when she said she was going out without him, so he went out as well.
"He set up an Alexa camera in the bedroom so he could watch the child while they were out. She wasn’t sure if he went back at all during the evening to check on her.”
The court heard he was meant to be in charge caring for his daughter – but instead "went to a string of pubs" in the town.
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A neighbour had been alerted by screaming in the garden at around 2am.
PC Phillip Coombs arrived at 2.10am to find the pair were arguing and they "had to be separated".
“When he was later interviewed he stated he had grabbed the victim by the throat; he told her to shut up and that she needed to calm down," Mr Davies added.
“He said he’d left his daughter at home, but had an Alexa camera app on his phone to monitor her snoring.”
Gareth Walters, defending, said: “He is a young man of previous good character, who has entered guilty pleas to serious offences.
"The consequences of this will be felt by him for a long time. His daughter has been taken away and it was largely him who cared for her.
“He felt he was keeping an eye on his daughter but he realises you can’t do that remotely. There was some effort by him to keep an eye on her but he knows the standards fell below what is expected of a parent.”
Magistrates jailed the father – who cannot be named in order to protect the child – for 12 months but they suspended it for 2 years.
The man admitted intentional strangulation of his partner and child neglect at the magistrates court in Llandrindod Wells, Powys.
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