An eight-year-old girl was left alone, locked out of her home and wandering the streets while her mother got drunk.

This is not the first time is has happened.

The shocking details came to light in the Townsville Magistrates Court where the mother pleaded guilty to leaving a child under-12 unattended on June 14 this year and a drug matter from another date. Prosecutor Mark Fenlon told the court the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, left the child at home early in the morning without food or water and did not return.

He said the child told police she spent the day playing with a neighbourhood child, going home occasionally to see if her mother was back, but each time found the home locked.

Once it got dark outside, the girl visited a friend's home and told them her mother had not been home all day, Mr Fenlon said.


Police found the woman at a home at Kelso about 10pm that night under the influence.

The court heard the woman had been sentenced to probation for similar offending in 2017.

In this incident, the woman failed to pick two children up after school and they walked home alone.

The children were locked out ended up sleeping at a friend's home.

The defendant did not return home until Saturday afternoon.

"The conduct in this matter is best described as negligent," Mr Fenlon said.

"The fact that an eight year old was left to their own devices all day whilst the defendant was engaging in activities that ultimately left her intoxicated is unconscionable."

Mr Fenlon said the drug charge which came about when she was found smoking a bong in Dean Park in July said "something about her priorities".

The woman was on probation at the time of offending.

Defence lawyer Daniel Guerin said the mother was born on Palm Island to parents who had alcohol issues.

He said she recently engaged with a woman's group and was attending meetings with Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Services.

Magistrate Ken Taylor said he was concerned a sentence of imprisonment, wholly suspended, might be setting the woman up to fail and that a supervised probation period would benefit her.

The woman was sentenced to probation for 12 months and was fined $200. A conviction was recorded.

Originally published as Drunk mum leaves girl to wander streets for hours