West Lothian crime: Livingston couple exposed children to 'horrendous' environment with cocaine and knives

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Couple left children in filthy living conditions and exposed them to cocaine

A West Lothian couple have admitted exposing three children to “a horrendous environment” within their filthy home.

Ashley Kerr, 36, and Paul Stirling, 28, allowed the children they were looking after to play in rooms filled with soiled nappies, knives, blades, packs of medication and bags of rubbish. Police also found Stirling had exposed one of the children to quantities of cocaine which was found in three bottles of milk within the property in Livingston. Tests conducted on the child’s hair and a blood sample showed they had traces of the Class A drug within their system.

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One friend of the couple described the conditions as “a horrendous environment for children” while a police officer said the home was in a “totally unacceptable condition”. Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told most rooms within the home at Scott Brae in Livingston were packed with rubbish bags, blister packs of medication including Tramadol and dirty nappies.

Ashley Kerr and Paul Stirling outside court in EdinburghAshley Kerr and Paul Stirling outside court in Edinburgh
Ashley Kerr and Paul Stirling outside court in Edinburgh

The court also heard on one occasion where Stirling, now of Fauldhouse, West Lothian, had been tasked with looking after the children and one of them fell ill in June 2018. Prosecutor Alan Wickham said at one point the child had stopped breathing for “five to ten seconds” and had “turned blue” forcing Stirling to call NHS 24 for advice. The court was told he was informed to take the child to the accident and emergency department at the nearby St John’s hospital but had failed to do so. Stirling told the NHS operation that he had forced his fingers down the young child’s throat in a bid to make them sick.

Kerr, currently of Mossbank, Livingston, and Stirling appeared in the dock at the capital court on Tuesday, May 16, to plead guilty to a charge of wilfully neglecting the children between September 2017 and November 2019. Mr Wickham said the couple became an item in 2016 and had lived at the home at Scott Brae for the duration of their relationship.

The fiscal said children they had been tasked with looking after were exposed to “abject conditions within the house” and pictures of the filthy rooms were shown to Sheriff Ian Anderson. The prosecutor said most rooms within the home were filled with bags of rubbish, soiled nappies, knives and packs of medication were on open display. He said the home had ‘an unclean smell” and doors to some of the bedrooms were unable to be opened due to the amount of rubbish on the floor.

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Police also found a large knife hidden under a cushion in the living room and there were signs of mouldy food on all the kitchen surfaces. Officers also discovered fragments of glass on the floor in the hallway and broken furniture within bedrooms. Four baby bottles filled with milk were also found within the home and three of the bottles were subsequently found to contain cocaine.

Mr Wickham said hair and blood samples taken from one child showed they had ingested traces of the drug. The fiscal said the hair sample proved the child had been “repeatedly exposed to cocaine”. Sheriff Anderson granted bail for both accused and deferred sentence to next month for reports to be prepared.