AN AYR resident has walked free from court yet again - for neglecting a child for the second time.

Lee Kearney, of Main Road, Ayr, could have been caged for neglecting the youngster last year, but was allowed to remain as a free man over the crime.

Last year Kearney, 25, was placed on social work supervision in a bid to help him turn his life around and learn the error of his ways after neglecting the young boy when the youngster was just two.

But he learned nothing from the chance he was given - and went on to neglect the child for a second time.

The details emerged this week when Kearney appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court to be sentenced for the latest neglect episode.

He had been in charge of the youngster, now five, at his former home in Paisley, near Glasgow, on April 13 this year.

Kearney, who moved to Ayr for a fresh start after the latest neglect episode, got so drunk he blacked out - exposing the child to danger yet again.

He admitted he did "wifully expose the said child in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health and did become grossly intoxicated whilst in sole charge of the said child, and did fall asleep" leaving the boy "unsupervised whilst within the said dwelling where there was a hot, exposed electric fire and a pair of unguarded bolt cutters on the floor."

The charge, brought under Section 12(1) of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937, stated that Kearney's actions "did thereby expose him to the risk of injury from said fire and bolt cutters."

Kearney admitted his guilt over the new case previously and returned to the dock this week to learn his fate.

Sheriff Tom McCartney blasted him for trying to pull the wool over the eyes of social workers tasked with interviewing him ahead of sentencing.

He said: "You said a number of times to the social worker, 'I didn't really do that bit of it'.

"It does not assist you to say you didn't really do it as you have accepted you did do it as you pleaded guilty.

"You have a previous conviction for the same offence, so I've had to seriously think about imposing a prison sentence.

"I note it was a short period of supervision, which clearly was ineffective in preventing further offending.

"I have decided I can deal with this by a large period of supervision and the requirement to carry out unpaid work for the benefit of the community."

The judge placed Kearney on an 18-month-long Community Payback Order, which will see him supervised by social workers for that length of time, and having to complete 160 hours' unpaid work in six months.

The sentence was imposed as a direct alternative to custody, and Kearney was warned he could yet be caged if he breaches the Order.

Last year Kearney went unpunished for leaving the same child's life in danger by falling in to such a deep sleep, while looking after him, that the toddler became trapped in a bathroom and had to be rescued by police.

The youngster, who was just two at the time, had to be rescued by officers who broke the door down as Kearney was so out-of-it he did not hear the toddler screaming and crying for help.

Kearney answered a phone call from the boy's 23-year-old mum on June 13, 2017, and spoke to her for around 20 minutes.

He then passed the phone to the toddler, and the youngster spoke to his mum for around an hour, before telling her that he was on the toilet.

She told him to get Kearney to wipe his bottom, but the toddler said Kearney was sleeping and he could not wake him up.

The toddler turned the bath taps on but could not pull the plug out, and was unable to put the phone on loudspeaker or rouse Kearney from his sleep.

The boy's mum panicked and phoned the police, who arrived and smashed the door down to rescue him, after hearing the youngster in "clear distress and hysteria."

A mirror had fallen and it, and other debris, blocked the door, trapping the youngster in the bathroom, where the bath was filled with toys, bottles and water, which prosecutors said "could have been fatal" to the toddler, who was found to be covered in shampoo and wearing only a vest, which was soaked through.

Officers found Kearney comatose on the couch and had to physically shake him to wake him up.

And a search of the property revealed that a window in the second-floor flat was wide open, which was only two feet off the kitchen floor, meaning the child could have got out it - and fallen 50 feet to the street below.