Parents of dead child, 3, had neglected her before

ABU DHABI // The parents of a toddler who fell to her death from a fifth-floor balcony received a suspended prison sentence the next day on a charge of neglecting the child's safety in an earlier incident.

The Egyptian couple had been prosecuted after police found their daughter Maryam, 3, sitting on the balcony of their apartment on Airport Road with her legs dangling over the edge.

Officers broke into the flat and found that the child had been left at home alone while her parents were out at work.

The couple were charged with child neglect, and on February 1 they were sentenced to a month's imprisonment, suspended - but the day before, Maryam had fallen to her death from the same balcony.

While her parents were again out and her aunt, who was babysitting, fell asleep, the child managed to climb the 1.5-metre balcony railing and fell to the street below.

Police said Maryam was able to climb over the railing using objects near by. It is not known if the sliding doors to the balcony had been left open.

Neighbours say the family moved into the building about four years ago, and Maryam was often seen with her father going for walks.

"She was a very nice little baby, very pretty," one neighbour said. The couple have no other children.

As yet there has been no court hearing in connection with Maryam's death.

Endangering the life of a child under 15 attracts a prison sentence of between one month and two years, increasing to three years if the child is left unattended.

Our legal advisor

Ahmad El Sayed is Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Experience: Commercial litigator who has assisted clients with overseas judgments before UAE courts. His specialties are cases related to banking, real estate, shareholder disputes, company liquidations and criminal matters as well as employment related litigation. 

Education: Sagesse University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 2005.

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