Kelly Marie Pocock, the mother of a three-year-old boy who developed a "smoking habit", has escaped jail after admitting child cruelty.
Kelly Pocock who allowed her 3 year old son to smoke a cigarette Photo: WALES NEWS
Pocock, 24, was arrested after a concerned friend filmed the toddler puffing on a cigarette in front of his mother and sent the footage to social services.
The court heard that the boy, who cannot be named, "looked like he had been smoking for many years" by the way he inhaled without discomfort.
Prosecutor Jonathan Rees said Pocock's friend, Natasha Dudley, 25, was visiting the family home in Merthyr Vale, south Wales, when she found the youngster hiding under a bed, smoking a cigarette.
She then took the boy downstairs, at which point he took a cigarette butt from an ashtray, lit it, and began smoking it in front of Pocock.
Miss Dudley was so astonished that she decided to capture the scene on her mobile phone camera.
Mr Rees said: "The video demonstrates the boy placing a cigarette into his mouth, lighting it with a lighter and sucking, drawing smoke clearly into the lungs and he seems to do it with some accomplishment.
"It doesn't cause him any discomfort. He is sat on a chair close to the mother, who is talking on the phone. It is clear that the boy, at the age of three, knows what to do with a lighter and cigarette."
He added that Miss Dudley found the boy in his bedroom after he had been missing for half an hour.
Mr Rees said: "She found him underneath the bed with some cigarettes. He was actually smoking one at the time and Miss Dudley said it looked like he had been smoking for many years."
Pocock, a single mother-of-three, was arrested after social services passed the film to police.
In interview, Pocock said she did not realise that her son was smoking because she was on the telephone at the time of incident in December 2007.
After being charged, Pocock entered a guilty plea on the basis that she had not seen her son smoking before and had not been told of the incident underneath the bed by Miss Dudley.
She pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to a child under 16 at a hearing last month.
Pocock wept in the dock as she was handed a 40-week jail sentence, suspended for two years.
Sentencing at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, Judge John Curran told Pocock: "This is one of the most extraordinary cases I've ever come across.
"The boy would not have been able to smoke without discomfort unless he had acquired a habit.
"This is an appalling situation and I don't see how you could have been unaware of the fact.
"This offence would normally cross the custody threshold but I do not want to cause your children any further emotional harm by separating them from you."
Pocock was also given a 12-month supervision order.
Three-year-old boy had 'smoking habit', court told - Telegraph