Lancashire

Sophie Jones methadone death: Father found guilty

Sophie Jones Image copyright Not specified - used by NWT
Image caption Sophie Jones died after ingesting methadone

The father of a two-year-old girl who died after drinking a heroin substitute has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Prosecutors said Sophie Jones ingested methadone, prescribed for her mother, which had been left in a child's cup at their home on Jameson Street, Blackpool on 4 March.

Sophie's father Barry Jones, 42, denied the charge, but a jury returned a guilty verdict at Preston Crown Court.

Michelle King, 29, her mother, admitted manslaughter at an earlier hearing.

Jones was also found guilty of cruelty to a child. King and Jones will be sentenced on 1 December.

Blackpool Safeguarding Children Board is carrying out a serious case review into Sophie's death and is expected to report back in the new year.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Lancashire Police said methadone had been left in a child's cup at the property

The jury was played a recording of a 999 call where Jones told the call handler: "I have a two-year-old daughter and I don't think she's breathing".

The trial heard claims that Jones and King put drugs first in their lives, at the expense of caring properly for their daughter.

Police said the methadone was left in a place where the toddler had "easy access to it", with a large number of children's fruit juice bottles containing traces of the drug also found in a bin.

The prosecution claimed the couple made £300 a month from selling methadone to drug addicts.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Michelle King and Barry Jones will be sentenced in December

Det Insp Andy Cribbin, of Lancashire Police, said: "Sophie's death was wholly avoidable and was brought about by their chaotic use of illegal and prescribed drugs within the family home.

"In particular, storing methadone in a child's drinking cup is akin to leaving a loaded firearm in the reach of a child - the outcome was almost inevitable."

Blackpool Council confirmed the child was not on the 'at risk' register or known to social services.

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