24 Apr 19
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis deferred sentence on Adams today and told her that he was keeping all options open because of the serious nature of the offence (Picture: Perthshire Picture Agency)
A woman who abandoned two children in a squalid house which police described as a health hazard has been warned she could be sent to prison.
The toddler and a boy, 10, were found with no adult supervision in a house which stank of urine and where a child’s bath was being used as a cat litter tray.
Bernadette Adams, 38, – who was supposed to be looking after the children in Aberuthven, Perthshire – was spotted several miles away with her partner David Taylor, 27.
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis deferred sentence on Adams today and told her that he was keeping all options open because of the serious nature of the offence.
He said: ‘There are far too many young people who, unfortunately, experience such scenarios and often these matters end in tragedy for the child or children.’
The toddler and a boy, 10, were found with no adult supervision in a house which stank of urine and where a child’s bath was being used as a cat litter tray (Picture: Perthshire Picture Agency)
Police officers probing a firebomb attack on a car owned by Adams’ former lover David Elliot found the children wandering around the filthy house unsupervised.
Adams admitted neglecting the boys on May 15 last year at the same time she was reportedly seen near Mr Elliot’s blazing car 12 miles away in Perth.
Adams, once branded a gold-digger for secretly marrying an eccentric pensioner more than 50 years her senior, admitted exposing the boys to unnecessary suffering or injury.
She admitted leaving them in a house with clothes piled up on the floor, dangerous medicine within their reach, and exposed to a cat litter tray overflowing with excrement. The charge stated she had left them in the care of a teenage boy.
Adams, who has previously been sued by senior Catholic priests over another filthy rented flat, also admitted acting in a threatening or abusive manner towards Mr Elliot on 15 December last year.
Fiscal depute Michael Sweeney told Perth Sheriff Court: ‘Both children’s beds were being used by a cat and there was a repugnant smell of cat urine throughout the property.
‘There were bin bags piled within the garden, to such an extent that officers commented this was a health hazard and, if not already, could have caused a vermin infestation.
Police officers probing a firebomb attack on a car owned by Adams’ former lover David Elliot found the children wandering around the filthy house unsupervised (Picture: Geograph)
‘It was a struggle to enter the utility room because of the quantity of dirty clothes piled on the floor. Dirty clothes were piled high obstructing the walkway on the landing.’
Officers had initially struggled to gain entry and had to knock repeatedly before the children allowed them into the property. The youngsters were described as ‘being left to roam the property’.
The court was told that Adams and Taylor were seen driving off from the scene of the firebombing and were later found with traces of white spirit on their hands.
Street sweeper Mr Elliot said he and Adams had an acrimonious relationship and said: ‘When I opened the front door I saw my car in flames.
‘It was popping and exploding. It was well ablaze. You could tell the heat from it was intense. Within three minutes the whole of the car was a ball of flames.
‘As I looked up the street I saw my ex-partner’s car driving away from the scene. Maybe she wanted a good look at what she had done.
‘The car didn’t catch fire by itself. The car was a burnt out charred mess.’
The court was told that a three-quarter full bottle of white spirit was found in the couple’s car and that it appeared to be covered in soot.
Mr Elliot’s car was destroyed in the blaze but Sheriff Lindsay Foulis found the charge of wilful fireraising against them both not proven.
In 2010, a group of Scotland’s leading Catholic priests won a legal bid to have Adams evicted from a rental property owned by the church and pay them £4,000.
When she was 25, Adams married wealthy pensioner Maurice du valois Watson – who was in his late 70s – in secret.
Friends of the pensioner, who inherited several hundred thousand pounds from his brother, stepped in and enlisted lawyers to bring the marriage to an end.
In 2006, Adams, Park Terrace, Auchterarder, was convicted of frightening her elderly husband by threatening to have his dog killed and demanding that he hand cash over to her.