A MAN who left a toddler in a paddling pool while he cleaned out some rabbit hutches had a lucky escape when the child ended up in hospital.

Teesside Crown Court heard how a neighbour carried out CPR on the child when James Crossling was spotted in a panicked state in the street.

The youngster wasn’t breathing but the quick reactions of the neighbours managed to bring the child around before they were transferred to hospital and placed in intensive care.

After a short spell in hospital, the child made a full recovery, the court heard.

The 36-year-old told police that the youngster had been splashing about in the paddling pool and had slipped under the water.

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Peter Byrne, prosecuting, said Crossling told officers that the child was under the water for around 20 seconds.

However, he later admitted that he was cleaning some rabbit hutches out at the time and had lied as he was banned keeping pets following a previous conviction.

Crossling, of no fixed abode but formerly of Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to cruelty to a person under 16.

Stephen Constantine, in mitigation, said this was not a case of causing deliberate harm to a child and the incident had a significant impact on Crossling since the incident occurred in July 2020.

He added: “This was a one-off, grave error of judgement.”

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Crossling to nine months in custody, suspended for 18 months after hearing the impact the offence had on the defendant.

“You allowed your concentration to move to other things, whether it be your phone, your Facebook, your rabbits or whatever it is,” he said.

“The circumstances could have been, in a matter of moments, so much worse. Thank goodness we are not dealing with a fatality but we are dealing with a very near miss.”

The defendant was also ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and perform 100 hours of unpaid work.

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