A UK woman has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for poisoning her own child, resulting in the need for a liver transplant. The Birmingham Crown Court found her guilty of administering paracetamol and codeine to her child at home and in two different hospitals. The incident occurred in September 2016 when the woman took her child to a walk-in centre, complaining of a high temperature and difficulty breathing. Despite initial improvement, the child’s health rapidly deteriorated, leading to the urgent liver transplant. Doctors described the situation as “acute, unexpected, and unusual.”
Suspicion arose among doctors when they noticed anomalies in the child’s health behavior, leading to an investigation. It was discovered that the mother had been hiding her administration of paracetamol and codeine to the child, causing the need for the liver transplant. Syringes with traces of the substances were found in a dustbin near the child’s hospital bed and in the mother’s washbag in the hospital room, providing evidence of her guilt. When confronted, the mother initially denied administering the drugs, but forensic scrutiny of her phone revealed searches related to drug overdose effects. Advanced scientific testing conducted in the USA confirmed that the liver failure resulted from a significant paracetamol overdose. The child had also been repeatedly seen by health professionals for exaggerated illnesses, undergoing 15 hospitalizations.
The mother, found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, received the 12-year prison sentence on January 12 in Birmingham Crown Court. The case sheds light on the concerning actions of a parent deliberately harming their child and the medical professionals’ vigilance in identifying the suspicious behavior. It also highlights the need for thorough investigations and advanced testing to ensure justice is served in such cases.