June 2015

Drug addict mother jailed over baby son’s death

A DRUG-addict mother whose 11-month-old baby drowned in the bath while she was buying crack cocaine has been jailed for six years.

A social worker had visited Finola Cash on multiple occasions including an unannounced visit just hours before his death and two days before social services had decided not to take him into care.

“The social workers noted no concerns about the child.”

The baby was submerged when his bath seat fell in to the water while his mother was outside their hotel bedsit in Edgware in north London meeting her dealer, reported

The baby died a month later in September 2014 in a children’s hospice after suffering brain damage.

He was also suffering from a severe nappy rash caused by neglect to change soiled nappies.

Cash pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Doctors found the baby had crack cocaine in his blood.

Blood tests and a post-mortem showed the baby had been in contact with various drugs including cocaine and benzoethylene, indicating he had been close to his mother as she smoked crack or it had been on her fingers as he was fed.

He was also suffering from a severe nappy rash caused by neglect to change soiled nappies.

She was known to social services because of her history of drug abuse and domestic violence and had been moved in to the hotel so social services could closely supervise the family.

The court heard how Cash first came to the attention of social workers in March 2010 and in April 2014 Ricky was placed on a ‘child protection plan’ over concerns that he was at risk of neglect.

“You will have to live with the fact that you’re responsible for this little baby’s death for the rest of your life I have no doubt that will be a burden to you but responsible for Ricky’s death you are,” said judge Charles Wide.

“You were grossly negligent. This was not the result of momentary inattention, this was the culmination of the continual failure to care for him.

“You repeatedly put your own preoccupations above the interests of your child. You were more concerned with receiving your consignment of drugs than looking after your child. That afternoon you were under the influence of drugs.”

Sarah Plaschkes QC, prosecuting, said Harrow Social Services became increasingly concerned about Cash who had already been evicted from two other hotels for disruptive behaviour before she arrived at the Madonna Halley Hotel in August last year.

She said social workers made repeated attempts to engage with Cash who refused to co-operate.

Social workers suspected Cash may have been taking drugs following reports from neighbours but Cash failed to arrive for drug testing.

On the morning of August 23 a social worker made an unannounced visit to Cash and noted that she had no concerns.

Hours later Cash left Ricky alone in the bath, returning to discover his lifeless body after collecting drugs.

Later tests on her blood and hair revealed she had taken crack cocaine in the 12 hours before Ricky had drowned and had been a user of heroin and methadone for the previous nine months.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said Harrow Council has launched a review of the case. The Met said: “As is routine, a multi-agency serious case review is under way, commissioned by Harrow Local Safeguarding Board. It would be inappropriate to comment further until its publication.”