Drug addict mother jailed over baby son's death

A mother whose 11-month-old son died after sustaining injuries while she was out meeting her drug dealer has been jailed for six years.

Finola Cash, 32, was out buying crack cocaine when her son Ricky's bath seat fell into water in their hotel bedsit in Edgware, north London, in August.

Cash had been visited by social workers on multiple occasions, including on the day Ricky died, the Old Bailey heard.

The judge said Cash was "grossly negligent".

Brain damage

The baby, who was subject to a child protection plan by Harrow Social Services, died in September 2014 - a month after he was found - in a children's hospice after suffering brain damage.

Judge Charles Wide said: "You were grossly negligent. This was not the result of momentary inattention, this was the culmination of the continual failure to care for him.

He added: "You were more concerned with receiving your consignment of drugs than looking after your child."

Doctors found the 11-month-old had crack cocaine in his bloodstream, which was either the result of passive smoking or contamination from a surface or a finger.

He was also suffering a severe nappy rash caused by neglecting to change soiled nappies.

'Increasingly concerned'

Cash pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to six years, of which Judge Wide said she is expected to serve half on licence.

Cash, who is from the travelling community, was known to social services because of her history of drug abuse and domestic violence.

She had been moved into the hotel so social services could supervise the family, the prosecution said.

On the morning of Ricky's death on 23 August, a social worker made an unannounced visit to Cash and noted that she had no concerns, the court heard.

Tests on her blood and hair revealed she had taken crack cocaine in the 12 hours before Ricky had drowned and had been a user of heroin and methadone for the previous nine months.

Sarah Plaschkes QC, prosecuting, said Harrow Social Services became "increasingly concerned" about Cash who had already been evicted from two other hotels for disruptive behaviour before she arrived at the Madonna Halley Hotel, in Whitchurch Lane, in August 2014.

Social workers suspected Cash may have been taking drugs after reports from from neighbours, but Cash failed to turn up for drug testing.

A statement from the Met Police said Harrow Council had launched a multi-agency serious case review commissioned by Harrow Local Safeguarding Board.

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