March 2002

Heroin pair jailed for child neglect

A HEROIN addicted mother and father were behind bars today after their baby son was left near to death after being neglected.

Burnley Crown Court heard little Keiron, was found to have kidney failure, advanced liver damage and his brain was bleeding.

But all his father Paul Main was interested in as the ailing tot was rushed into intensive care was getting drugs.

The infant, whose grandmother had stepped in to save his life, was also blue because of oxygen starvation, dehydrated, cold, filthy, and had bruised and sunken eyes.

His skin was dirty and raw and he was smeared in excrement, the court heard.

Keiron survived after being resuscitated and has made a slow but steady improvement.

Although today, at 15 months old, he still suffers seizures and there are worries about his general development, he seemed to have recovered.

Main, 22, who had slapped and shaken the child, grabbed him by the throat and “smothered” him to stop him crying, and the baby’s mother Victoria Morgan, 19, who fed him beef crisps, were both today beginning jail terms.

Main was sent to prison for two and a half years while his co-defendant received nine months.

Sentencing them, Judge Raymond Bennett said the case was dreadful and it was immaterial whether the cause was consumption of heroin.

The judge told Morgan, who was said to have been threatened with violence by Main, that she did not do anything to care for the baby that even the most incompetent mother could have been expected to do.

Main, of Bright Street, Colne, admitted cruelty and assault and Morgan, of Kenilworth Drive, Earby, pleaded guilty to cruelty.

Richard Howarth, prosecuting, said the defendants lived a nomadic existence, moving several times before Keiron was born in December 2000.

Mr Howarth said Main was seen sharing drugs with Morgan while the infant was in his pram in the same room . When Keiron started to cry, he shouted for him to shut up or he would blow heroin in his face.

He then slapped the baby backwards and forwards across his face as Morgan lifted him from his pram by his throat and shook him.

Keiron was then put on the floor, picked up by his neck and left to sob in his pram.

Main was also seen to “smother,” the youngster to try and stop him crying and “slammed” him against Morgan’s chest when he was not making any noise.

The prosecutor said on another occasion, the baby was left outside a shop for 10 minutes on a cold wet day and at about five weeks old, Morgan fed him crisps.

Main’s mother arrived at the beginning of February and found her grandson “pure grey,” in wet clothing and smelly. She thought he was dead.

Another witness thought the infant, who was drenched, freezing cold and struggling to breathe, was dying. Main said Morgan could go to hospital with the infant, as he was going out to “score” heroin.

Mr Howarth said when Keiron arrived at hospital, medics, who believed he had not been fed or cared for for at least 48 hours, said he was on the verge of dying.

He was transferred immediately to paediatric intensive care at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Anthony Cross, for Main, said the offences were a revolting case of child abuse and Main knew it.

Neither defendant was fit to have a child and somebody should have recognised that.

The “smell of hypocrisy,” surrounding the case was overwhelming as not one of the people who saw what was happening reported it either to social services, the police or the defendant’s mother.

For Morgan, Richard Hunt said the defendant claimed she was not using drugs and had always insisted she was worried by the overbearing personality of her co-defendant. Morgan had been a prisoner in the relationship.

Lancashire County Council’s social services department was not available for comment after the case.