Humberside

Poppy Widdison death: Mum 'blames herself' for death

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

A mother accused of feeding her four-year-old daughter sedatives told a court in tears she blamed herself for the girl's death.

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

Michala Pyke, 37, of Ladysmith Road, and her ex-partner, John Rytting, 40, of Frederick Street, deny child cruelty.

Giving evidence, Ms Pyke told Hull Crown Court: "I failed her, didn't I? For my own selfish reasons."

She added: "I took my eye off the ball and look what happened."

Ms Pyke admitted shouting and swearing at Poppy shortly before her death.

She told the jury: "I was under so much pressure with everything. I wanted it to be perfect and it wasn't.

"It started to fall apart."

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

Ms Pyke told the court she suspected her ex-partner was feeding her child diazepam.

She told the jury in one incident Poppy had a "blue tongue" and on another occasion she was "wobbly".

The prosecution claim the couple gave Poppy diazapam to put her to sleep in order to stop her from interfering in their relationship.

'Took away the pain'

When asked why Ms Pyke sent Mr Rytting text messages referring to "blue Smarties", the mother replied she wanted her ex-partner to "admit that on a message and try to make him say yes" so she could "show the message to someone".

The court heard Ms Pyke was sexually and racially abused as a child and had started smoking cannabis before getting addicted to heroin.

She said the drugs "took away the pain" and she had been taking heroin and methadone for almost a decade.

Mr Rytting admitted in court that Poppy was taken to a drug dealer's house where he and others smoked heroin in the kitchen while she was in the living room.

The former heroin addict had 14 bottles of methadone at his home, the jury heard.

Ms Pyke has previously pleaded guilty to child cruelty by emotional abuse.

The trial continues.

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