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Mother sentenced after severely injuring her child

|News, Drug offences

A West Midlands mother who caused serious harm to her child after overdosing them with paracetamol and codeine has been sentenced.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment today (12 January, 2024) after she was earlier found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court heard that the mother poisoned her child at two different hospitals – causing serious harm to their liver.

On 9 September 2016, the woman took the child to a walk-in centre reporting they had a temperature and difficulty breathing.

As the child’s condition deteriorated, they were taken by ambulance to the first hospital where they were admitted as an inpatient that same day.

Despite responding well to treatment, their condition worsened quickly on 16 September 2016, and by the next day, they had deteriorated significantly which the doctor described as "acute, unexpected and unusual". The child underwent an urgent liver transplant three days later.

The woman administered paracetamol and codeine to her child which caused them to need an urgent liver transplant.

Building the case:

Hospital records revealed that medical staff only administered the maximum recommended doses of paracetamol to the child and there was no plausible reason for codeine being present in their system.

Scientific analysis of syringes found in a holdall by the child’s hospital bedside and in the mother's washbag at her hospital room revealed traces of paracetamol and codeine which helped prove that she administered the doses.

When police searched the family home on 20 September 2016, they found co-codamol tablets.

Nursing records also revealed that apart from medical staff, the mother was the only one present while the child was in hospital.

When she was confronted by doctors, she lied and told them that she had not provided the child with codeine.

However, forensic analysis of her mobile phone revealed that she searched for the effects of co-codamol overdose.

The result of advanced scientific testing not available in the UK, which was carried out on the child’s urine in the USA, proved that their liver failure was due to a substantial overdose of paracetamol sufficient to cause severe harm.

Although the child was healthy with no underlying issues that would have necessitated a liver transplant before September 2016, they had been seen multiple times by health professionals.

A CPS spokesperson said: “The woman presented herself as a loving and devoted mother when in fact she had been the cause of her child's illness and severe liver damage.

"What happened in this case was a terrible betrayal by a mother, who went to extreme lengths to poison her own child.

"She has been sentenced and will now face considerable time in prison where she can no longer be a danger to her child."

Notes to editors

  • The defendant was previously convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

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