18/08/2010 08:42 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

British Mum Sentenced For Abandoning Daughter While She Went Drinking

A British holidaymaker has been given a six-month suspended jail sentence for abandoning her 11-year-old daughter on a crowded Spanish beach while she went to a bar.

Alicia Bernadette Jenkins, 42, from Builth Wells, Powys, sat drinking in a bar for hours on Sunday afternoon while the 11-year-old girl wandered around the beach.

The youngster was found by a British couple who were horrified she was unsupervised in the busy seaside town on the Costa Dorada.

But when they took the girl to the bar, where her mother had been drinking for at least two hours, they were told to 'f*** off and leave me alone'.
The concerned couple then brought the girl back to her hotel where staff contacted the police

The police arrested the woman at the bar in the resort of Salou, 70 miles south of Barcelona.

Ms Jenkins appeared before a magistrate in Tarragona yesterday where she admitted the charge of child abandonment.

She was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years. The court was told she has no previous convictions in Spain.

A spokeswoman for the Mossos d'Esquadra, the regional Catalan police force, said: 'A British woman was arrested on Sunday evening for abandoning her 11-year-old daughter while she went drinking in a bar.
salou, close to Barcelona

'The girl was helped by a concerned British couple on the beach, but when they went to the bar to find the mother she started swearing at them and being abusive.

'She was very drunk. They took the girl back to the beach and when the woman did not turn up some time later they took her to the hotel where the girl and her mother were staying.

'Hotel staff called the police and our officers went to the bar where the woman was detained.

'By that stage the girl had been out of her care for most of the afternoon.

'She was taken to a children's care home to be looked after.'

It is thought the child is still being cared for by Spanish social services.

Ms Jenkins had arrived in Salou, a popular party resort, last Friday with her daughter, who has not been named.

Under Spanish law parents who abandon their children face jail sentences of 18 months to three years. If the child is put in danger, it can be up to four years.

What do you think?
A shocking story of bad parenting, or over-reaction by the Spanish police?