A heroin addict mother was convicted of manslaughter in the death of her asthmatic son, who died alone and “gasping for air” in a garden. Jurors were told that Laura Heath “prioritized” her heroin addiction over caring for Hakeem Hussain. According to the court, Heath had even repurposed one of the seven-year-inhaler’s olds as a makeshift crack pipe. In November 2017, the 40-year-old was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence related to Hakeem’s death in Nechells, Birmingham. She also pleaded guilty to four counts of child cruelty at Coventry Crown Court and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 28.
Conference on Child Protection:
His body was discovered not at home but at a Birmingham house where his mother had been living more and more as her reliance on class A narcotics grew. Hakeem had had terrible asthma for years, and instead of caring for him, Laura Heath let him die. She didn’t move as he gasped for air the night he died in 2017 after using heroin in the next room.
Heath, who had a £55-a-day drug habit, had even adapted one of her son’s blue inhalers with foil and an elastic band so she could smoke crack. During the trial, it was revealed that school nurse Melanie Richards informed a child protection meeting just two days before Hakeem’s murder that he could “die at the weekend.” Health, education, and social workers voted to safeguard Hakeem at the same convention.
Local authorities will now face major questions about how a boy they knew was at risk died from an easily curable disease while his mother, high on drugs, slept nearby. Over the next few months, a serious case review analyzing the circumstances of his death will be published.
After his father was imprisoned in 2016, Hakeem, a caring boy with musical and artistic abilities, lived alone with Heath. Heath had four children, but Hakeem’s three half-siblings had all been taken from her care. Heath “failed to administer” any “preventer” asthma medication two days before he died. She did not have access to a spacer device, which is used to get more drugs into a child’s lungs, as evidence presented at her trial. Police searches later turned out a piece of a spacer among the squalor of moldy food, overflowing ashtrays, and drug paraphernalia in her residence.
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