A four-year-old girl died after being fed diazepam by her mother — who called them "Smarties" — to stop her inconveniencing her relationship with her drug-dealer boyfriend, a court has heard. Poppy Widdison died in June 2013, with toxicology tests revealing the child had ingested a variety of drugs, including sedatives, heroin, methadone and ketamine, for a period of up to six months before her death, Hull Crown Court heard.
The toddler died of cardiac arrest at Sheffield Children's Hospital after being found in the drug-filled home of her mother, Michala Pyke's, boyfriend, John Rytting. Pyke, 37, and her partner Rytting, 40, both from Grimsby, deny two charges of child cruelty.
Prosecutor David Gordon opened the case against Pyke and Rytting, saying that text messages recovered between the pair referenced Widdison having a "blue Smartie" and going to sleep. Gordon said it was the prosecution's case that "blue Smartie" was a reference to the sedative diazepam.
The jury also heard how Pyke texted Rytting to tell him to "get them blue Smarties ready, the ones she likes." Gordon said, according to the Metro: "In text messages in the last week of Poppy Widdison's life, Mr Rytting and Miss Pyke are referring to getting some diazepam tablets ready to give to Poppy in order to, we say, to sedate her.
"We say Pyke and Rytting, the defendants, are just wanting to get on with their love life, wanting to enjoy each other's company and it may be this young girl was something of an encumbrance. It's apparent from the text messages that Miss Pyke viewed Poppy as an inconvenience who she felt was in the way with regards to her relationship with Mr Rytting."
A post-mortem examination found bruises on Widdison's body, with toxicology tests finding she had ingested the drugs for a period of between two and six months before her death, Gordon added. The court also heard how the drugs did not contribute to the child's death.
Both Rytting and Pyke have pleaded guilty to a charge of child cruelty by allowing Widdison to stay in a house where prescribed and controlled drugs were within reach of the child. Pyke has also pleaded guilty to child cruelty by emotional abuse to her child.
According to the BBC, the pair deny a count of child cruelty by encouraging Poppy to ingest prescription and/or controlled drugs, and one count of child cruelty by assault causing bruising. Pyke also denies two drugs charges of possessing methadone with intent to supply and Rytting denies possessing cannabis with intent to supply, but has admitted one count of importing drugs and two counts of supplying controlled drugs.
The trial continues.