UPDATED: Judge sums up in Riley Pettipierre methadone death case
A JUDGE is now summing up the evidence of the case in which a couple are accused of the manslaughter of their son who died after drinking methadone.
Judge John Milmo QC, sitting at Nottingham Crown Court, is expected to send out the jury, in the case of Sally Dent and Shaun Binfield, tomorrow, so jurors can consider their verdict.
Riley Pettipierre died after drinking Dent’s methadone from a child’s beaker on March 13 last year.
Binfield, 45 and Dent, 33, of Kilbourne Road, Belper, both deny manslaughter.
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Dent, also denies cruelty to a child under 16 – it is alleged she failed to keep Riley away from class A drugs other than on the occasion of March 13.
Yesterday Dent wept as she sat in the dock while Binfield showed the jury how he had placed the "sippy cup" next to three teddy bears and a remote control, on top of a CD rack which had been on a chest of drawers.
Binfield said he had moved the beaker – in which Dent had put her methadone – from the top of the wardrobe, after she asked him to at about 2am that day.
"That's where I thought it would be safe," Binfield told the jury.
He said he had expected Dent, 33, to take it during the night.
Asked by his lawyer, Paul Mann QC, where he expected it to be in the morning, Binfield replied: "Possibly in the kitchen or in the kitchen bin."
Prosecutor Yvonne Coen asked Binfield if he had checked in the morning to see whether the beaker was still on top of the CD case.
He replied: "It didn't cross my mind. If I had have thought, I would have moved it. I never thought for a second it would still be there."
Ms Coen said Binfield had three opportunities that morning to check if the beaker was still there – when he got up, after putting out the bins and when Riley went back to lie down in the bed next to Dent.
She said the "alarm bells" should have been ringing.
Crying, Binfield replied: "If the alarm bells were ringing, I would have moved it and my son would be here now."
Mr Mann put it to Binfield that it appeared to be the prosecution's case that the couple had "cooked up some half-baked story" about where the beaker had been left.
"That's sick," Binfield replied.
Mr Mann said: "Did you have any opportunity at all to make up stories with Sally?"
"No, none whatsoever," said Binfield.
He said he had stayed by Riley's side from the moment he found him lifeless to when he was taken away in the ambulance – at which point he followed in a car with a paramedic.
Binfield was arrested and taken to the police station shortly afterwards. Asked how he was at that stage, Binfield said: "I was a wreck – absolutely devastated."
He said he felt "empty" and "lost".