A woman who drugged a child with adult sleeping tablets over a six-year period has dodged a prison sentence.
Shelly Forrester, 34, administered melatonin tablets to the child at an address in Dundee between January 2013 and October 2019.
Dundee resident Forrester pleaded guilty of culpably and recklessly administered the prescription drug to the child. She also admitted causing other people to administer the drug.
The city’s sheriff court heard how Forrester made the child take three to four tablets a day to stop them from being “hyper”.
Prosecutor Christine Allan said Forrester told the child that they were hay fever tablets. The offence came to light after a witness contacted the social work department.
Forrester admitted knowing that the drug was not prescribed and did not seek medical advice as well as showing “complete disregard” to the risk or side-effects and placed the child’s health in serious danger.
Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by the body. It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is also found in other areas such as the eyes, bone marrow and gut.
It is often called the “sleep hormone” since high levels can help people to fall asleep. As a supplement, it can be used by people who are suffering from jet lag or from work shifts.
Forrester returned to the dock for sentencing following the preparation of social work reports.
Sheriff John Rafferty expressed his concern at comments made by Forrester in the report, believing she did not appreciate the gravity of the situation.
According to defence solicitor David Duncan, Forrester was embroiled an abusive relationship during that time period and was struggling to cope.
Sheriff Rafferty said: “This is a very serious matter. You placed the child at significant risk. You did so without knowing or having regard to the extent of that risk.
“Even now I do not think you appreciate the gravity of the situation you are in. I am able to avoid a custodial sentence here.”
Forrester was placed on a restriction of liberty order which will keep her indoors between 7pm and 5am for 120 days.