March 2019

Drug addict forced his own 12-year-old son to take potentially lethal methadone

A bullying drug addict forced his own 12-year-old son to take potentially lethal methadone and then provide a urine sample so that he could try to fool a drugs-testing assessment.

James Major, 40, threatened to break his son’s legs if he told anyone after crushing the heroin substitute tablets into his blackcurrant juice.

After taking the heroin substitute the boy fell down some stairs and ended up “groggy” and “lethargic” in hospital because of the life-threatening effects of the dangerous drugs and chemicals, a court heard.

Callous Major even tried to cover up what he had done and claimed his son was “milking it”.

Major, of Brereton Avenue, Cleethorpes, admitted child cruelty on December 3.

He was jailed for four years at Grimsby Crown Court after putting his son’s life and welfare in jeopardy.

Nigel Clive, prosecuting, said that Major crushed one or two tablets into a cup of blackcurrant juice and asked his 12-year-old son to drink it.

The tablets were heroin-substitute methadone and a sedative drug.

The boy was reluctant but Major insisted and also asked him to provide a urine sample.

His son at first refused but Major cajoled him by calling him his “mate” and offering him money.

He later shouted at the boy, who felt forced to take the drugs and urinate into a bottle.

Major threatened to break his legs if he told anyone and said that his son would be nothing to him.

He left the house but the boy later fell downstairs and was found sprawled at the bottom of them. He was very unsteady on his feet.

His next memory was waking up feeling “groggy” in hospital. He still felt unwell several days later.

Major went for an assessment at a drugs agency and went to the toilet, seemingly to provide a urine sample.

He needed to be able to test negative for opiates and crack cocaine to qualify for a course of treatment he wanted.

“This defendant’s behaviour was to disguise the fact that he was still taking illegal substances that he should not have been taking,” said Mr Clive.

Major later told his mother and the police that the boy was “milking it” and would be all right in 24 hours.

The son was left “lethargic and unresponsive” and the effects of the drugs were potentially life-threatening because they could cause heart attacks

and the stopping of breathing as well as depression.

“They are very serious drugs and chemicals,” said Mr Clive.

“He has made a full physical recovery.”

The Crown court heard Major had convictions for 25 previous offences, including violence.

Judge John Thackray QC told Major: “Your offending beggars belief. Being a father is one of the greatest gifts in life, an unbelievable privilege, and

you abused that gift in a deplorable way that put your son’s life and well-being in jeopardy.

“You took advantage of his love and devotion to you. You should have been there to protect him from harm.

“What you chose to do was inflict harm for your own personal benefit.

“I don’t detect a shred of remorse on your behalf.

“In an attempt to disguise your use of Class A drugs, you asked him to take some tablets for you.

“You didn’t tell him what he was taking and you asked him to provide a urine sample.

“The effects of the drugs were potentially life-threatening and Major tried to cover up the “despicable” thing he had done by lying to his mother and the police.

“You could have been facing a homicide charge,” said Judge Thackray