October 2017: Died after an overdose in a hostel room in Maidstone, Kent on Friday
Drug addict mother gave toddler heroin substitute to ‘knock him out’ so she could smoke crack – He died – Jailed for six years
A drug addicted mother who fed her toddler son a heroin substitute to ‘knock him out’ so she could smoke crack has been jailed for six years.
Kelly Emery, 34, was convicted of the manslaughter of son Fenton Hogan, two, at Nottingham Crown Court after a jury heard she had deliberately given her son methadone to make him sleep.
The mother refused to give evidence at her trial insisting that she had never given her child the drug, despite being negligent in leaving bottles of it ‘lying around’ her house.
The Crown alleged that Emery gave the heroin substitute to Fenton to ‘knock him out’ so she could smoke crack cocaine.
Fenton, who had no obvious injuries, was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital from the family’s former home.
Emery, formerly of Frankley, Birmingham, was given a concurrent 12-month prison sentence after admitting gross neglect of Fenton by allowing him access to methadone.
But the seven woman, five man jury cleared her of giving the toddler methadone on two other occasions before his death in July 2013.
In a statement issued after the case, Detective Inspector Bob Sutton, who led a West Midlands Police investigation into the death, said: ‘Any child death is a tragedy.
‘Fenton Hogan should have had the rest of his live to look forward to.
‘Instead his short life was taken by the actions of his mother, who should have been there to safeguard and protect him.’
The officer said of Emery: ‘Her daily routine revolved around the consumption of drugs. This was to the detriment of those she had direct care for.
‘Fenton’s extended family agrees that no sentence is sufficient or will help to heal what happened to Fenton. The impact of Kelly’s actions will remain with all of the family forever.’
Blood samples taken from the child showed he had as much of the drug on his system as an adult on methadone maintenance therapy.
And hair samples showed that, in the months before his death, he had ingested the drug on at least two other occasions.
When he opened the case, prosecutor Christopher Hotten QC told the jury: ‘That Sunday evening, she had crack and she wanted to smoke it.
‘We say she gave Fenton methadone knowing, to put colloquially, it would knock him out and enable her to do what she wanted without the interference from a fractious child that was difficult to put to sleep.’
Emery, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by gross negligence and a charge of child neglect, wept in the dock as she was jailed for six years.
Mr Justice Robin Knowles told her she had not faced a murder charge because she had no intention of killing her son.
The judge told her; ‘Fenton died because you actively administered about 10mg of methadone to him.
‘That is about half the amount you, as an adult, were taking for you addiction, at that point, to heroin.
‘You did this to get him to sleep so that you could focus on what you saw as your need to take drugs.’
Emery was sentence to six years for manslaughter and 12 month concurrent for a charge of child neglect which she pleaded guilty to.
The jury, by their verdicts, the judge said, found Fenton had consumed methadone in the past from bottle left lying around by Emery.
However it was only on one occasion, on June 30 2013, she actively gave him the drug.
The judge went on; ‘I accept the death of Fenton is crushing in itself.
‘I accept there is genuine remorse. This case is a tragic one.
‘The offending was so unnecessary yet so culpable, the consequences so grave.
‘The offence is so serious that a prison sentence is necessary.’
Before she was taken down, the judge said finally to Emery; ‘Your options include dedicating yourself now to your own recovery in honour of the memory of Fenton and in respect of the life your daughter has to live.
‘It is not too late to give in memory of Fenton and towards the life of your daughter the gift of a mother who does not take drugs.
‘Few things are irreparable over time.’