Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Toddler 'drank toxic cannabis food'

A toddler died after drinking plant food his mother was using to grow cannabis, Bradford Crown Court has heard

A two-year-old died after drinking poisonous plant food his mother was using to grow cannabis, a court has heard.

Lauren Booth, 24, was allegedly growing the drug in her home in Norris Close, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and the court heard she was asleep when her son Aaron drank the toxic liquid just after midday on November 6 2010.

Aaron had not been fed that day and was probably extremely hungry and thirsty when he drank the pH Up brand plant food, commonly used in hydroponic growing, Bradford Crown Court was told.

Booth, who had gone to bed at around 6am that day, denies wilfully ill-treating or neglecting her son.

Thomas Storey, prosecuting, said information on a notebook and laptop seized from the house by police, as well as Booth's comments to Aaron's father while their son was in hospital, showed that the plant food was being used for growing cannabis.

Aaron died 11 days later at Leeds General Infirmary after his windpipe disintegrated. He had suffered several other injuries, including burns to his stomach, pancreas and spleen.

The court heard that Booth and her partner were awoken by a loud thud at around 12.40pm on November 6, to find Aaron lying down with a brown mouth and lips. Booth's partner, who spent a lot of time at the house, raced across the road to borrow a telephone to call the emergency services.

By the time paramedics arrived, Aaron's mouth and lips were purple and he was foaming at the mouth. He was taken to hospital in Huddersfield before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

The court heard that Aaron's father, Mohammed Khan, did not know his son was in hospital until November 14, after a friend told him. That day he went to the LGI where Booth seemed more concerned about having to move her cannabis plants than her son's condition, according to the prosecutor.

Mr Storey said: "She told him that she and her partner had been trying to make some money by growing skunk in the house, almost seeming annoyed by the involvement of the police because they were going to have to find somewhere else to grow the skunk, seemingly not bothered about her son."

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