Glasgow & West Scotland

Kimberley Hainey: The mother who killed her son through neglect

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Media captionKimberley Hainey denies murdering her son at their home in Paisley

Kimberley Hainey left her defenceless young toddler home alone while she was out drinking.

She claimed that Declan was the most precious thing in her life, but she showed little sign of that when he was alive.

Hainey preferred to go out with friends or stay overnight at her then boyfriend Robert Milton's home rather than giving Declan the love and security he needed.

On one occasion she was at Mr Milton's home for two days.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Jack Beattie told the court that young children use up massive amounts of energy and said the cumulative effect of being left alone would be very serious.

He said the main issue would be dehydration.

After Declan's death, caused by Hainey's neglect, the toddler was left in his cot - which did not even have a sheet on it - to rot.

When he was eventually found months later at his home in Bruce Road, Paisley, his body was partially mummified and fused to the plastic mattress.

Hainey claimed that she woke up one morning to find Declan dead in his travel cot in the living room. She said she then moved him into her own bed before putting him in the cot in his bedroom.

However, it is believed that given the position of Declan's body with one arm up at his head the likelihood is that he died in the cot in his bedroom.

The travel cot where Hainey alleged that she found Declan dead was piled high - almost to overflowing - with empty two-litre lemonade bottles, sweet wrappers and other rubbish.

His favourite toy Iggle Piggle, that Hainey told jurors Declan cuddled every night to get to sleep, was found by detectives under the grime and debris in the travelcot.

Vodka bottles

Lying about a foot away were numerous empty vodka bottles and discarded food cartons.

In Declan's bedroom it was impossible to see the carpet because it was strewn with his clothes which were dumped all over the floor.

He lay in his cot with a dirty nappy beside him and the cellophane wrap from a cigarette packet lying between his legs.

Image caption Dr Julie McAdam told the court a cellophane cigarette wrapper was between Declan's knees

The grim discovery was made by Hainey's mother Elizabeth Rodden, step-father John Rodden and her aunt Ann McNeilage on 30 March last year.

The family, who had been fooled by Hainey into believing Declan was alive, were traumatised after finding him dead.

In court Mrs Rodden told Hainey: "May God forgive you."

For months Hainey had been getting money from them claiming she needed it for food, heating and clothes for Declan.

Hainey's mother and step-father had previously offered to care for Declan and give him a home, but Hainey had refused.

Up until his first birthday she cared for him well and everyone who met her then described her as a good mother who loved her son and who was adored by him.

'Withdrawn and shy'

But from then on Declan's wants and needs always came second to hers. She was drinking heavily and staying out for longer and longer periods leaving Declan on his own.

Sometimes, but not often, Declan would be with her.

When family, friends, drugs workers and even the man in her local corner shop asked where Declan was she always came up with a plausible excuse.

She would tell her parents he was at nursery, even making up stories about what he was doing there and saying how much he liked the staff.

Then when Hainey was asked by friends, neighbours or her then boyfriend where Declan was she claimed he was being looked after by her mother.

In fact, her mother and other family members never saw Declan alive after his first birthday party on 17 April, 2009.

Downward spiral

One neighbour who saw him between May and July 2009 described Declan as "withdrawn and shy" and spoke of his eyes being glazed over. Another said he "appeared tired all the time."

Another woman spoke of tickling his feet and getting no response, while another said she got no reaction when she tried to play boo with him.

The court was told that as a young woman Hainey appeared to have it all. She had a good job with Direct Line earning £28,000 a year. She also owned her own flat.

But after the death of her uncle Hugh, who she regarded as a father figure, in 1999 she had a breakdown, lost her job and her flat and began taking heroin.

Image caption Entomologist Dr John Manlove told the court Declan's body was partly mummified

The downward spiral continued until she found herself in Dykebar Psychiatric Hospital in Paisley where she met Declan's father David Gibson.

Even then she was discharged because she went out of the hospital and returned intoxicated on a number of occasions. She was also still taking drugs.

During her pregnancy she was given help by the social workers at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and after Declan was born was put on a methadone programme.

She was signed off this programme by social workers who described Declan as "a much-cared for child", and stated that Hainey was receiving help from her mother and step-father.

In a report it was noted that "the methadone programme appears to be going well. There are no concerns about the care and well-being of Declan. This will continue to be the case so long as she remains on the methadone programme and continues to receive good family support."

What the social workers didn't know was that after Declan's first birthday Hainey was increasingly distancing herself from the family.

She was placed on a drugs project called Family Matters which counsels drug-addict mothers and tries to wean them off heroin.

Hainey did wean herself off methadone, but she constantly lied to her drugs counsellor Jill Stevenson, repeatedly coming up with excuses why she could not visit the home she shared with Declan.

Miss Stevenson finally managed to visit Hainey and Declan at Bruce Road on 6 May 2009, and found Declan quiet and withdrawn. She said he did not engage with her.

Methadone programme

The drugs counsellor was also concerned about the smell of alcohol she noted from Hainey and intended to breathalyse her at their next meeting.

Miss Stevenson was lied to by Hainey who came up with excuse after excuse not to meet up for a further appointment.

On 13 August 2009 Miss Stevenson had to close the case due to Hainey's failure to engage with the programme.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that although drug workers from Renfrewshire Council were involved with Hainey no social workers were, apart from those at the RAH.

Hainey was also determined to get through the methadone programme on her own and did not want to have anything to do with social workers.

It was after her GP and health visitor raised concerns because Hainey had failed to take Declan for an immunisation jab that his body was found.

Hainey continues to insist her innocence. She claims that Declan died in his sleep and that she had a breakdown and was pretending to herself that he was still alive.

No members of Hainey's family were in court. They never returned after giving their evidence.

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