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Mother who fed drugs to four-year-old daughter to be sentenced

A mother and her ex-partner who fed her four-year-old daughter sedatives because she was an "inconvenience" to their relationship will be sentenced for child cruelty.

Drug dealers Michala Pyke and John Rytting allowed Poppy Widdison to eat drugs, including diazapam, heroin, methadone and ketamine, for up to six months before her death in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire.

Poppy died in June 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest at Rytting's "squalid" home , where prescription and controlled drugs were "left lying around".

Pyke and Rytting were told they will be jailed when they are sentenced for child cruelty and drugs offences at Hull Crown Court on Monday.

A trial heard that text messages between the pair talked about Poppy having a "blue Smartie" - believed to be a reference to the sedative diazepam, in the form of a blue tablet - and going to sleep.

David Gordon, prosecuting, told the jury: "We say Pyke and Rytting, the defendants, are just wanting to get on with their love life, wanting to enjoy each other's company, and it may be this young girl was something of an encumbrance.

"It's apparent from the text messages that Miss Pyke viewed Poppy as an inconvenience, who she felt was in the way with regards her relationship with Mr Rytting."

An ambulance was called to Rytting's home in Oliver Court on June 9 2013, where Poppy was found to be "unresponsive, blue and not breathing".

She was taken to hospital but died the next day.

Pyke, who had been in a relationship with Rytting for around nine months, was in the process of moving into his home with Poppy at the time.

A post-mortem examination could not establish a cause of death but toxicology tests carried out on her blood and hair found various drugs, and showed the young girl had been exposed to and had ingested significant amounts of heroin and methadone for a period of between two and six months before her death.

The drugs did not contribute to Poppy's death but experts agreed there was a "long period of ill-treatment and neglect by the grossly-inappropriate administration of various drugs to the child by the defendants".

Both defendants will be sentenced for child cruelty by allowing Poppy to be accommodated in a house where prescribed and controlled drugs were unsecured and within reach of the child and by encouraging her to ingest prescription and/or controlled drugs.

Pyke, 37, also faces sentencing for child cruelty by emotional abuse, after neighbours heard her shouting at Poppy, threatening her and calling her a "little bastard", possession of methadone with intent to supply and supplying the same drug.

Rytting, 40, will be sentenced for importing drugs, two counts of supplying controlled drugs and one count of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

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