Cornwall

Cornwall mother guilty of poisoning her baby with salt

Truro Crown Court
Image caption The mother tearfully denied the charge at Truro Crown Court

A mother has been found guilty of poisoning her 18-month-old daughter with more than a tablespoon of salt.

The toddler, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, survived in April 2016 after treatment at two hospitals.

The woman, from the St Austell area of Cornwall, was convicted by a jury at Truro Crown Court of administering a poison or noxious substance to endanger life.

The case has been adjourned until 20 April, pending psychiatric reports.

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The jury heard the mother phoned her GP surgery for help and messaged her mother and friends as the toddler was repeatedly sick, grew sleepy and developed white lips.

The girl's grandmother called 111 and paramedics were subsequently sent to the home before an air ambulance then took the child to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

She was later transferred to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and survived after treatment.

'Silly parent'

Initially medics believed the girl had sepsis, but blood tests revealed high salt levels.

The prosecution told the court that a medical expert determined the child had ingested between 21g and 24g of table salt in the afternoon of 26 April. A tablespoon holds about 17g of salt.

The jury heard the mother had Googled the amount of salt it was safe for a toddler to eat the day before but had not mentioned any concern over salt intake when talking to her GP or any other medical staff.

The mother had tearfully denied the charge at court, saying she had no explanation for the high levels.

She also claimed she had not called 999 as she had previously been treated like a "silly parent" by paramedics.

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