Conviction over methadone toddler death in Dover

27/04/2017

A mother, whose toddler died after taking methadone at their home in Dover, has been convicted of manslaughter.

Lucy King (39) was convicted, following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court. Her daughter Frankie, aged two, drank the methadone, after her mother left it out in June 2015. Ms. King had been prescribed the methadone, a heroin substitute, under carefully regulated and monitored circumstances.

The prosecution case was that she had failed to do anything for almost two and a half hours, after telling paramedics who arrived on the scene that the methadone had been taken at 7:30am, yet no call was made to emergency services until just before 10:00am. Frankie died at hospital later that morning.

Libby Clark, from the CPS, said: "This was an extremely unusual case. To ensure Lucy King was convicted of manslaughter, the CPS needed to prove that her actions amounted to gross negligence, which led to the death of her daughter.

"Lucy King had measured her methadone into a measuring cup where it was found and consumed by her young child. She then failed to report what had happened for almost two and a half hours. This was a key element of the CPS' case, as was the fact the defendant had signed a safe storage agreement, which included keeping the medication out of the reach of children. In addition to this, she had been given a leaflet, which made it clear that if there was any suspicion a child had taken methadone, emergency services should be called immediately. 

"After Frankie had taken the methadone, Lucy King was able to spend time chatting to her friends on Facebook."