July 2013

Harrowing pictures reveal how shameless drug addict parents grew cannabis near son’s cot in squalid flat where tot died of heroin overdose

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  • Simon Jones and Emma Bradburn admit manslaughter by gross negligence

  • Daniel Jones was found dead at the family’s three-bedroom property

  • Picture shows dummy on bed where he died after swallowing wrap of heroin

  • Bedside draw contained dirty syringe and a spoon used to cook drugs

  • Daniel’s hair sample also revealed amphetamines, cocaine and cannabis

  • Jones admitted using heroin night he died and tested positive after arrest

  • He was sentenced to six years and Bradburn handed four-year prison term

  • A serious case review is being conducted into the toddler’s death

These shocking pictures reveal the inside of a couple’s drug-riddled home where their 23-month-old son died after swallowing heroin they left next to his cot.

Simon Jones, 30 and Emma Bradburn, 34, were jailed today after negligently allowing Daniel Jones to ingest the Class A drug.

While the shameless pair kept their downstairs living room clean and tidy, the upstairs of the property was covered in drug paraphernalia.

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In one shot, Daniel’s green dummy lies on the couple’s unmade bed which is littered with beer cans and bottles of medicine.

A bedside draw shows a plastic kinder egg container next to a dirty syringe and a spoon used to cook drugs.

Another picture shows a red plastic child’s bucket overflowing with cannabis leaves which Jones grew in the loft before drying them in Daniel’s bedroom.

The toddler died in their bed after swallowing a wrap of his parent’s Class A drug on May 29 last year, making him one the UK’s youngest ever heroin victims.

Shockingly, despite social workers placing the boy on an ‘in need’ register on account of his parents’ drug addiction they removed him from the at-risk list weeks before his death.

A serious case review has been launched to discover whether social services should have done more to protect him.

Jones, 30, was sentenced to six years behind bars after previously admitting manslaughter by gross negligence.

Bradburn was also jailed for four years after she admitted allowing the young boy’s death.

Sentencing the couple at Wolverhampton Crown Court today, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said there was no doubt the two – both long-term heroin addicts – had loved their boy, but added: ‘It is one thing to risk your own health, but quite another matter entirely to risk your son’s.’

She said: ‘He (Daniel) was utterly reliant upon you for every aspect of care in his life.’

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Daniel was pronounced dead after being found collapsed at the family’s three-bedroom property in Windsor Avenue, Wolverhampton, on May 29 last year.

His death was initially treated as unexplained, but following extensive tests it was determined that he had died from heroin poisoning, caused by an overdose.

Neil Moore, for the Crown, said it was not known exactly how Daniel came to ingest the drug, but that when Bradburn woke on the morning of May 29, she found her son lying next to her, ‘icy’ to the touch, ‘blue’ in colour and unresponsive.

The boy had also been sick and medics had to remove vomit from his airway.

Mr Moore, setting out the facts of the case, added: ‘She (Bradburn) said Jones had put Daniel to bed earlier that night.

‘She woke at 5.30am and felt an icy cold hand on her leg. When she picked up Daniel, stale milk came out of his mouth.’

Despite resuscitation attempts by Jones, paramedics and hospital doctors, nothing could be done to save the boy.

A medical examination revealed he was well-fed, and had ‘a normal appearance’ for a boy of his age and showed no signs of neglect.

A toxicological test on the boy’s hair suggested ‘chronic and repeated exposure’ to drugs in the environment where he had grown up, but it was impossible to tell how long the exposure had gone on.

The post-mortem also revealed traces of pneumonia ‘which is linked to the use of opiates’, said Mr Moore, and ‘there were also non-specific changes to the brain’.

In interview, Jones told police he smoked cannabis daily and heroin three times a week, but tried never to do so in front of his son.

He had taken the precaution of turning the drawers of his bedside table – where he kept a syringe, foil and cigarette papers – to face the wall so Daniel could not get at them, telling police his son was at the age where ‘everything goes in his mouth’.

Bradburn said she smoked cannabis in the garage.

Kate Thomas, counsel for Jones, said her client had a bad upbringing suffering sexual abuse for much of his early life, causing him to fall into drug abuse.

She said: ‘He accepts that it was his heroin that Daniel Jones took,’ but asked the judge to show mercy as the child was the ‘apple of his eye’.

Christopher O’Gorman, for Bradburn, said his client suffered serious injuries in a car crash and her reliance on drugs was in part to cope with the resulting pain, although he accepted her addiction pre-dated that accident.

‘Daniel was wanted and he was loved,’ he said.

Mr O’Gorman added: ‘She expects no sympathy for anybody but asks that all the circumstances are borne in mind as she meets the unenviable task of trying to rebuild her life.’

Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Jones and Bradburn: ‘You failed woefully to protect him from the very obvious dangers you exposed him to.

‘The danger was mortal danger as you should have realised.’

Jones fully accepted he was responsible for his son ingesting a tiny – yet lethal – amount of heroin as he had been using the drug around the time Daniel died.

Following his arrest, shortly after the toddler’s death, Jones tested positive for the drug while Bradburn did not.

Examination of a sample of Daniel’s hair revealed the presence not only of heroin, but also amphetamines, cocaine and cannabis.

Both Jones and Bradburn said they never smoked heroin or cannabis in front of their son.

But it was revealed that Daniel slept in his parents’ bed, where police found tin foil stained with a brown residue, empty clingfilm packets and other paraphernalia associated with the transport and use of heroin in the room’s bedside tables.

When police searched the rest of the family home, they found a cannabis factory in the loft where more than 30 plants were growing.

Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Jones he had set up the cannabis-growing operation ‘in the home your son was living’ and said to Bradburn that despite her claims not to have known the scale of that operation, she still knew of it and did nothing to stop it.

Bradburn and Jones were due to stand trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court last month, but pleaded guilty on the first day of the hearing.

The court also heard that just two weeks before his death, social services removed Daniel from a child in need plan as they were satisfied with the care he was receiving at home.

Detective Inspector John Smith, of West Midlands Police public protection unit, said Daniel’s life was ‘needlessly cut short’ because of his mother and father’s actions.

He said: ‘His parents were unable to prioritise their son’s needs before their own.

‘It was a gross betrayal of trust – they led a lifestyle which was not conducive to being responsible parents.’

Mr Smith went on: ‘There are no winners in this case. Daniel’s parents face lengthy spells in jail having lost their only son, while the wider family continue to grieve the boy’s unnecessary death.’

A serious case review into the death is being conducted by the Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Board chairman Alan Coe said: ‘In any instance where health, social care or other services knew and were involved in the family where a child dies, not as the result of an accident, we must always find out if there was anything that might have been done to have better protected them.

He added: ‘Once we have the final report, we will be in a better position to ascertain whether there are any actions the professional agencies need to take either individually or collectively to improve the way we identify potential risks to children and take action to address them.’

If he had survived, Daniel would have celebrated his third birthday last week.