Drug addict mum Sally Dent thought methadone was safe in child's cup
A DRUG addict mother whose two-year-old son died after drinking methadone has told a jury she put the liquid in a child's beaker because she thought it was "safe".
Sally Dent, who is accused of the manslaughter of Riley Pettipierre, was giving evidence yesterday at her trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
Riley died on March 13 last year after drinking some of his mother's methadone, which she had poured into "a sippy cup".
Dent, who denies manslaughter, told the jury: "I was just thinking of somewhere safe to put it – that lid was tight on it, I knew it wouldn't get spilt."
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She said at the time she did not have any spare child-proof bottles, which she usually stored the methadone in.
She said she had then placed the beaker on the window sill behind the sink, which Riley would not have been able to reach.
The court heard previously that it was in the early hours of the following morning she had taken the beaker through to her bedroom ready to take for when she woke. Dent and her partner, Shaun Binfield, 45, found Riley lifeless on their bed, at Kilbourne Road, Belper, at about 10.30am. Binfield also denies the manslaughter of their son.
Yesterday, Dent, 33, told the jury she had been addicted to heroin since she was 16 and funded her habit by working as a prostitute in Derby.
She said that, at the time of Riley's death, she was on a methadone programme and took illicit class A drugs once or twice a week at the most.
She always took the drugs in her kitchen while Binfield was looking after Riley in another room, she told the jury.
Her lawyer Simon Clarke asked her: "Did you ever take drugs when Shaun was out of the flat but Riley was in?"
Dent replied: "No, because there was no-one to look after Riley – I wouldn't have just left him. And Shaun would have gone mad."
She said Binfield had never taken class A drugs and had wanted her to stop. Dent said she met Binfield in Derby and he had helped her stop working as a prostitute.
About becoming pregnant with Riley, Dent said: "I never thought I could get pregnant because of the drugs use – I was so happy."
Dent is also accused of cruelty to a child under the age of 16 – it is alleged she failed to keep Riley away from class A drugs other than on the occasion of March 13. She denies the charge. At the start of the trial, Binfield was also accused of this offence but yesterday the judge ruled there was not enough evidence to convict him of this charge and entered a not guilty verdict.
The trial continues.