Parents jailed over heroin death
A father has been jailed for killing his young son after negligently allowing him to take a heroin overdose in the family home.
Simon Jones, 30, was sentenced to six years behind bars after previously admitting manslaughter by gross negligence of 23-month-old Daniel Jones.
Daniel's mother 34-year-old Emma Bradburn was also jailed for four years after she admitted allowing the young boy's death.
Sentencing the couple at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said there was no doubt the two - both long-term heroin addicts - had loved their boy, but added: "It is one thing to risk your own health but quite another matter entirely to risk your son's." She said: "He (Daniel) was utterly reliant upon you for every aspect of care in his life."
Daniel was pronounced dead after being found collapsed at the family's three-bedroom property in Windsor Avenue, Wolverhampton, on May 29 last year. His death was initially treated as unexplained but following extensive tests it was determined that he had died from heroin poisoning, caused by an overdose.
Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Jones and Bradburn: "You failed woefully to protect him from the very obvious dangers you exposed him to. The danger was mortal danger, as you should have realised."
Jones fully accepted he was responsible for his son ingesting a tiny - yet lethal - amount of heroin, as he had been using the drug around the time Daniel died. Following his arrest, shortly after the toddler's death, Jones tested positive for the drug while Bradburn did not. Examination of a sample of Daniel's hair revealed the presence not only of heroin, but also amphetamines, cocaine and cannabis.
Both Jones and Bradburn said they never smoked heroin or cannabis in front of their son. But it was revealed that Daniel slept in his parents' bed, where police found tin foil stained with a brown residue, empty clingfilm packets and other paraphernalia associated with the transport and use of heroin in the room's bedside tables. When police searched the rest of the family home, they found a cannabis factory in the loft where more than 30 plants were growing.
Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Jones he had set up the cannabis-growing operation "in the home your son was living" and said to Bradburn that despite her claims not to have known the scale of that operation, she still knew of it and did nothing to stop it.
Bradburn and Jones were due to stand trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court last month, but pleaded guilty on the first day of the hearing. The court also heard that just two weeks before his death, social services removed Daniel from a child in need plan as they were satisfied with the care he was receiving at home. If he had survived, Daniel would have celebrated his third birthday last week.