I can’t even imagine …
A mother and her partner who allowed a four-year-old girl to eat drugs for months before her death have been jailed for 13 years.
Michala Pyke and John Rytting fed Pyke’s daughter, Poppy Widdison, heroin, diazepam, methadone and ketamine before she died after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Passing sentence at Hull Crown Court, judge Jeremy Richardson told the pair they did it to “subdue and sedate her to allow you to indulge in your own squalid passion”.
He said Pyke was “utterly unfit to be a mother” and saw her daughter as an “inconvenience” in her relationship with Rytting.
Judge Richardson told them: “You both bear huge responsibility for blighting the life of a pretty vivacious little girl.”
The judge said Poppy was born a heroin addict and suggested Pyke even named her in reference to the drug.
He said: “It reveals your deplorable attitude, together with that of your then partner, towards that innocent infant.”
The judge said: “It is of pellucid clarity to me that during the period covered by the indictment, and before that time, you both existed in the swamp of drug addiction and drug peddling.”
He said: “The life of Poppy may only be characterised as tragic from the moment she was conceived to the moment she died.”
Pyke “emotionally abused” her young daughter and her conduct was “cruel and deliberate”, Mr Richardson added.
Poppy was found dead at Rytting’s home in June 2013, where prescription and controlled drugs were “left lying around”.
A post-mortem could not establish a cause of death, but toxicology tests conducted on her blood and hair found various drugs, and showed Poppy had been exposed to and had ingested significant amounts of heroin and methadone for a period of between two and six months before she died.
Pyke and Rytting were 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, 38, formerly of Ladysmith Road, Grimsby, was also convicted of child cruelty by emotional abuse, possession of methadone with intent to supply and supplying the same drug.
Rytting, 40, formerly of Elsenham Road, Grimsby, was also sentenced for importing drugs, two counts of supplying controlled drugs and one count of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
Speaking outside court, Poppy’s uncle, James Widdison, said he did not think the family or social services could have foreseen what happened.
Standing beside Poppy’s grandparents, Judi Widdison and Fred Soar, he said: “We’ve waited three and a half years for this day and it doesn’t get any easier.
“The memories we’ve got of her are everlasting. We won’t ever be distanced from that. There’s no such thing as closure with regards to this case.”
Mr Soar added: “She was a lovely girl – joyful to have round.”
I believe that the little girl’s death would be charged as murder in the United States. The lax penalties we see in British justice are puzzling to Americans.