Poppy Widdison death: Flat 'no place' for child

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

The former partner of a mother accused of feeding her four-year-old daughter sedatives led "a chaotic" lifestyle and his flat was "no place" for a child, a court has heard.

Poppy Widdison, from Grimsby, died from a cardiac arrest in June 2013.

Michala Pyke, 37, of Ladysmith Road, and her ex-partner, John Rytting of Frederick Street, deny child cruelty.

Giving evidence on the first day of his defence, Hull Crown Court heard Mr Rytting used heroin from the age of 15.

The jury heard he continued using the drug until May 2014 and that he also stored diazepam and temazepam, which he bought online, at his flat in the town.

Ms Pyke would regularly visit his flat on a weekly basis with her daughter Poppy, the court was told.

Defence barrister Tim Roberts said to the 40-year-old: "You pleaded guilty to the wilful neglect of Poppy because of the condition of your flat."

He replied: "My flat was no place for a four-year-old. It was disgusting.

"Looking back I should never have let her [Poppy] through the door."

Image caption Michala Pyke and John Rytting deny two counts of child cruelty but have admitted another charge. Ms Pyke has also pleaded guilty to child cruelty by emotional abuse

Mr Roberts asked Mr Rytting: "Did you ever see anyone giving her little blue tablets?"

He replied: 'I didn't. If I had I would told the police… my lifestyle at the time was that chaotic."

In cross-examination, Michala Pyke's defence lawyer Katherine Goddard asked Mr Rytting, 40, "what did you do to discourage Michaela Pyke from bringing her daughter Poppy to your flat?".

He replied: "Nothing."

The prosecution claims he deliberately encouraged the administration of drugs to Poppy.

In his response, Mr Rytting said: "Never, never, no. I couldn't do that."

Poppy was found with traces of a number of drugs in her system, the jury heard.

The court was told the couple "fed" drugs to Poppy to sedate her because she got in the way of their relationship.

The trial continues.

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