February 2005

Salt poisoning mother is jailed

A mother has been jailed for five years for killing her nine-year-old son by putting salt in his hospital drip.

Petrina Stocker, of Romford, Essex, was convicted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey court on Thursday.

David Stocker died in Great Ormond Street Hospital in August 2001 from an overdose of 13 teaspoons of salt which his mother put into his drip feed.

On Friday at the Old Bailey, Stocker, 42, was also disqualified from working with children.

Judge Gerald Gordon told her she would have to live the rest of her life with what she had done.

“Public revulsion at behaviour such as this means that a custodial sentence is inevitable.

“You deliberately caused to be fed to him a substantial quantity of salt at a time when I accept he was seriously ill.

“After nine years with no suggestion of harm to David there has to be some force, incomprehensible to me and most people, driving a mother to behave towards their own child as you did to David.”

On Thursday, the court heard David was ill for months but doctors were unable to make him better because his mother was misleading them.

Nicholas Hilliard, prosecuting, said the 13 teaspoons of salt poured into a milk drip feed was the last in a series of acts by Stocker.

Stocker had spiked two feed containers with around 18 teaspoons and the boy collapsed after the first one was given to him.

David, who had been a healthy karate champion, was in and out of hospital for five months and had turned into little more than skin and bones.

Mr Hilliard said David had been treated since February 2001 in Great Ormond Street Hospital and in Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, Essex, with his mother keeping a bedside vigil.

But doctors could not find what was wrong with him because of the various symptoms he displayed, such as loss of appetite and lethargy.

He said Stocker had put blood into urine samples and manufactured vomit samples, in addition to interfering with his intravenous drip.