Humberside

Poppy Widdison death: Mother 'fed' daughter sedatives

Poppy Widdison Image copyright Humberside Police
Image caption Poppy Widdison died at Sheffield Children's Hospital in June 2013

A mother fed her daughter sedatives in order to spend time with her boyfriend, a court has been told.

Poppy Widdison, four, from Grimsby, died from a cardiac arrest in June 2013 at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Her mother Michala Pyke, 37, and Ms Pyke's ex-partner John Rytting, 40, both deny child cruelty.

Opening the case against them at Hull Crown Court, prosecutors said Poppy had ingested a variety of drugs for up to six months before her death.

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Prosecutor David Gordon said the drugs included sedatives, heroin, methadone and ketamine.

Mr Gordon said text messages between the couple referred to the child having a "blue Smartie" and going to sleep, which he said was a reference to the sedative diazepam.

"We say the defendants are just wanting to get on with their love life, wanting to enjoy each other's company and it may be this young girl was something of an encumbrance," he said.

Drugs 'lying around'

Mr Gordon said: "She regarded her child, her own daughter, as something of a nuisance and interfering with Miss Pyke's enjoyment of her relationship with Mr Rytting."

The exact cause of Poppy's death is not known but Mr Gordon said experts agreed there was a a long-period of ill-treatment and neglect.

Quantities of prescription and controlled drugs were found at Mr Rytting's house in Grimsby when it was searched.

Image caption Michala Pyke and John Rytting (seen at an earlier hearing) have denied giving Poppy drugs

The prosecutor said: "It was clear that various types of drug were simply left lying around the house."

Both defendants have pleaded guilty to child cruelty by allowing Poppy to live in a house where prescribed and controlled drugs were unsecured and within reach.

Miss Pyke has also admitted child cruelty by emotional abuse.

Both Miss Pyke and Mr Rytting deny one count of child cruelty by encouraging Poppy to ingest prescription and/or controlled drugs and one count of child cruelty by assault causing bruising.

Miss Pyke denies two charges of possessing methadone with intent to supply and supplying the same drug.

Mr Rytting denies possessing cannabis with intent to supply but admitted one count of importing drugs and two counts of supplying controlled drugs.

The trial continues.

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