French mother who left her seven-year-old son to fend for himself for two years had gone

A mother who abandoned her seven-year-old son and left him to fend for himself went off to live with another woman, MailOnline can reveal.

The 39-year-old, whose identity is known to MailOnline but cannot be disclosed, dumped the child and left him to look after himself during the pandemic.

He was forced to steal tomatoes from a neighbour’s balcony vegetable patch but had no idea how to turn the heating on and showered with cold water – while she lived with her female lover three miles away.

The story emerged earlier this month when the woman appeared in court in the French town of Angouleme to face a charge of child abandonment.

In a case that has shocked France, the trial heard how the boy was left on his own in 2020 in a council flat in Nersac, a village on the outskirts of Angouleme, until neighbours raised the alarm almost two years later.

In a heartbreaking case, prosecutors said the boy had to wrap himself up in three blankets just to stay warm during the winter months when he had no hot water, heating or electricity. 

The child had been left to fend for himself in a council flat in Nersac, a village on the outskirts of Angoulême in Charente

The child had been left to fend for himself in a council flat in Nersac, a village on the outskirts of Angoulême in Charente

Despite his traumatic conditions the ‘intelligent’ boy – who cannot be named – was able to catch the bus and go to his local primary school where teachers were unaware of his tragic circumstances.

MailOnline has discovered the mother left her council apartment in Nersac to move in with her female lover in nearby Sireuil after divorcing the boy’s father.

One neighbour in the block where the boy was living said: ‘He seemed so normal, he lived in the apartment opposite. I saw him coming and going I didn’t realise he was there on his own.’

Another neighbour said: ‘I built a little vegetable patch on my balcony and I saw him coming to take the tomatoes to eat. That’s when I understood. 

‘He would come with another little boy. That’s when I realised something was going on and we alerted the authorities.’

A school friend said: ‘He said to us he was eating on his own and that he would get the bus to school on his own. He said he was living on his own and his mother wasn’t with him.’

A neighbour in Sireuil said the young boy’s mother was very ‘verbally abusive’ and added: ‘She lives there with another woman. She stands outside the apartment with her arms crossed in a threatening manner.

‘How do people have children if that’s what they do them.’

The woman’s Facebook page has several pictures of her own children and her lover and the couple are thought to have had another child together as well.

Her bio reads: ‘My family, my happiness is everything that matters. I love you very much.’

The mother was sentenced last week to six months of electronic surveillance for abandoning and endangering a minor. The boy’s father, who lived in another town, was not charged. 

Before the boy was found in 2022 when he was nine years old, neighbours expressed their concerns to the boy’s mother, who had told them that she was caring for her son and to stay out of her business.

His life of solitude and neglect went undetected, locals have said, partly because the boy attended school, was clean and kept up good grades.

The ‘intelligent’ boy, who avoided playing with friends and always went straight home, seems to have thrown himself into school – with psychologists suggesting that the routine it offered ‘saved his life’.  

The youngster is now in care and refuses to see his mother, who was arrested after neighbours in the village of Nersac, sounded the alarm. 

The town’s mayor Barbara Couturier told France Bleu the boy had kept up with his homework and was a ‘good student’, despite his ordeal. 

‘I think it was also a kind of protection that he put around himself to say “everything is fine”,’ she said.

She added that she did not think anyone would have been able to detect what was really going on given how well the boy looked after himself.

A classmate of the youngster told TFI television: ‘He told his mates that he ate his meals alone and took the bus alone. He didn’t go out and stayed home all the time.’

Child psychiatrist Gilles-Marie Valet said school ‘allowed him to remain grounded and to promote autonomy which undoubtedly saved his life.

‘We can imagine that he acquired a strong capacity for resilience before he turned nine years old. He had already developed the ability to calm down on his own and not panic,’ he added.

Having learned ‘the codes of society,’ the boy saw teachers as ‘a pillar of resistance’, and he wanted to impress them.

School ‘allowed him to remain grounded and to promote autonomy which undoubtedly saved his life,’ said Mr Valet.

Cold food came from tinned cans, and the boy also stole tomatoes from his neighbour’s window boxes.

Despite this, investigators are still interrogating staff at the boy’s school to try and find out why no concerns were raised.

Instead, it was left to a neighbour to raise the alarm when he kept seeing the boy walking to school by himself.

The boy’s mother had insisted at last week’s trial that she had lived with her son, but this is said to have been disproven by mobile data obtained by police which showed she had hardly been at the flat.

Neighbours have spoken of their guilt at not realising what was going on or acting sooner, telling local media that the anonymity of modern life played a part in allowing the neglect to continue for so long.

‘When there was a family and a village around the family, if the mother neglected the child, it didn’t matter too much, because the rest of the family and the whole village took care of the child. It’s not like that any more,’ a local resident said. 

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