Truro Crown Court
Truro Crown Court

A mother accused of poisoning her little girl with dangerously high levels of salt burst out laughing in hospital as the child fought for her life, Truro Crown Court heard.

The 29-year-old woman from the St Austell area of Cornwall, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is currently on trial after being accused of administering the toddler with between 21 and 24 grams of salt.

Just one day before, the mother had Google searched what the appropriate amount of salt is for an 18-month child, according to The Mirror.

One doctor said it is a "miracle" that the baby has since made a full recovery after she was rushed to hospital when she was found unresponsive.

The little one's grandfather from the father's side told the court that the mother showed no emotion during the ordeal and was even spotted laughing while her daughter was being treated in hospital.

He said: "It was just horrendous. Her eyes suddenly rolled back and I thought she was gone. She [the defendant] was sat in the front room while the paramedics were there. There was just no empathy from her and it just didn't seem right.

"She didn't really show any kind of emotion and I just didn't understand. At one stage while we were at the hospital she was laughing as if nothing happened. I couldn't understand how you could be like that."

The defendant is denying unlawfully and maliciously feeding her child the high levels of salt to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm.

The granddad, who has known the defendant for four to five years, also noticed that the baby would not take food from its mother but would be happily fed by nurses and described it as "very strange."

A nurse from Royal Cornwall Hospital, Joanna Philip, supported this claim, saying that she saw the child turn away and refuse food from her mother, instead feeding herself from a tray.

Another nurse named Laura Handley said that prior to the alleged poisoning in April, the child took food from her but not her mother. She also said that there was "nothing unusual" about a child of that age finding it appealing to be fed by a stranger.

Prosecutor Peter Coombe outlined the evidence from a doctor Malcolm Coulthard, who apparently claimed that such a high amount of salt would have had to be administered on purpose. He also said that no child could ingest such a high amount unless it was disguised in food or drink.

Salt poisoning is also known as hypernatremia, and is when a body takes in dangerously high levels of sodium, according to the National Capital Poison Center. The resulting effect can damage brain cells and lead to seizures, coma or even death.

The defendant is expected to give her defence on Thursday, and the trial continues.