Elaine Joyner gave the baby a feeding bottle filled with bleach (Wiki Commons)

A south London woman has been detained in a secure hospital after giving a baby a feeding bottle filled with bleach.

Elaine Joyner, 53, from Deptford, gave an 11-month-old boy the bottle while his mother and grandmother were distracted.

She was told she was unfit to plead in Woolwich Crown Court by judge Andrew Lees, who said the trial would go ahead in her absence.

He told the jury: "I have decided on the evidence of two specialist medical practitioners, one instructed by the defence, one by the prosecution, that she is mentally ill, such that she cannot understand the proceedings, cannot understand the evidence, and cannot give valid instructions to her legal team."

Because of his ruling, there was no guilty or not guilty verdict. The jury was asked instead to decide whether or not she had given the baby the poisoned bottle.

She will be held in a secure unit at hospital until doctors deem her fit to leave.

Retched and vomited

The baby, who was in McDonald's restaurant in southeast London, swallowed some of the contents of the bottle before vomiting, the court heard. He was taken to hospital for observation.

His grandmother said: "I reached for a bottle that was in his pram. As I looked into it I noticed it was orange in colour with white milk particles in it. It was extremely frothy on the top.

"I realised that he had drunk something that we had not given him. Three girls said that a woman had walked past and given him a bottle."

Prosecuting, Peter Clark said: "The baby, who was 11-and-a-half months old, took some of that fluid in his mouth and was immediately rendered ill by it. He retched and vomited over himself and turned very pale.

"Ingestion of bleach can prove fatal, and in the case of such a young child is particularly hazardous."

The baby's mother said: "Some random person had given my baby a bottle, which he had drunk from and was vomiting. My baby had been poisoned."