Kent

Lucy King jailed over toddler daughter's methadone death

Lucy King arriving at Maidstone Crown Court for trial
Image caption Lucy King left a cup of methadone on the living floor while she slept, the court heard

The mother of a two-year-old girl who swallowed a fatal dose of a heroin substitute has been jailed for three and a half years over her death.

Lucy King denied manslaughter through gross negligence but was convicted by a majority jury verdict of 10:2.

Jurors heard how King, 39, waited two hours to call 999 after her daughter Frankie Hedgecock drank methadone.

Instead, she stayed in their Dover home, messaging friends on Facebook and watching The Jeremy Kyle show.

She told Maidstone Crown Court she bought the drug through a friend and left a dose in her sitting room of their De Burgh Street home in June 2015.

'Calamitous consequences'

King admitted nodding off at about 07:30 BST, waking up to find the cup containing the liquid drug was almost empty.

She said she first tried to make the toddler sick but, as time progressed, Frankie seemed to show no ill-effects and she began to think her daughter had not drunk the liquid.

A couple of hours later Frankie was taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, but was pronounced dead at 11.04.

Sentencing King, Judge Jeremy Carey said: "This was an isolated incident but one that had calamitous consequences, and consequences for which you are responsible.

"You knew there was a real likelihood she had drunk the methadone. You took a chance in the hope it would not come back on you.

"Had you acted as you should have done, and as any right-minded parent would have done... had the emergency services been called straight away, there is the overwhelming probability Frankie would have survived."

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