A TEENAGER was discovered in filthy conditions after four months living alone without food or heating.
After the 13-year-old boy was rescued, he revealed that all he had been surviving on for months was bowls of cereal.
The case shocked authorities after an anonymous tip led them to the teen's squalid home.
Sleeping on a filthy mattress in freezing conditions throughout the winter, it was later established that health care worker Michelle Williamson had known the boy was living in the squalid property.
The mum-of-nine pleaded guilty in Dundee Sheriff Court to wilful negligence after the teen was allowed to stay in the freezing home from December 2020 to April 2021.
Sheriff John Rafferty ordered her to carry out 165 hours unpaid work, and referred her to Scottish Ministers for them to assess her suitability for working with children.
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The court also heard 36-year-old Williamson had lost her job as a result of the incident and was now unemployed.
Sheriff Rafferty said: "I consider this to be very serious.
"A 13-year-old child was left alone for almost an entire week in a house that was filthy, had inadequate heating and you had to survive on frozen food and carry out meals.
"How someone could allow this to continue for such a lengthy period of time is beyond me."
After Dundee City Council received the anonymous tip that led them to the boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – police discovered he had been living in filth for nearly four months.
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Despite the awful conditions he was left in, council social workers failed to raise any concerns over Williamson or the children she cared for.
The 36-year-old continued to be employed as a health care assistant by a private firm after her arrest, but has since been dismissed following her conviction.
Fiscal depute Dev Kapadia told the court: "The accused and her partner had discussions about living together in December 2020.
"The trial period commenced two weeks before Christmas. The complainer felt the house was too crowded and wanted to have his own space.
"Alternative arrangements were made for the child to live at the Kirkton address, on their own, five nights a week.
"A double mattress was in the living room. It was the only room which was heated. [The child] was eating three bowls of cereal a day.
"If [the child] ran low on food, she would arrange for frozen food to be delivered, or the occasional takeaway.
"She would transfer money to [the child's] bank to top up the energy meter. This lasted until April 27.
"Police received a call from child protection from the council, who had received an anonymous call about concerns a child was living alone.
"Police attended the house at 5.40pm. The door was eventually opened by the child, who indicated to them the reason he was home alone was that the accused had gone to the shops.
"The child told them they would contact her by phone, but while talking to the police the child conceded they lived alone because they 'needed space'.
"Williamson would check in on the child once a week but would not stay, they said. Police were concerned about the condition of the house.
"It was in a state of disrepair. It was unclean, dirty, with worktops piled with unwashed bowls and plates which had mould on them.
"There was little food – just a few tins and a packet of pasta. Dirty laundry lay everywhere and a double mattress in the living room had dirty bedding.
"Police noted there was £5 on the meter but no heating on. It was cold and uncomfortable."
Dundee Sheriff Court heard that Williamson, of Kennet Walk, Dundee, spoke to police in June 2021 and told them she was a support worker.
Solicitor Hannah Fairweather, defending, said: "Social work were informed of the situation initially.
"It was assessed and deemed there were no concerns and they have not been involved since."
Sheriff Rafferty said: "It is extraordinary she was employed as an adult support worker, and more extraordinary she continued as a health care assistant."
Solicitor David Duncan, defending, said: "She displayed a very grave error of judgment. Significant lessons have been learned."
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