Jurors in Hull Crown Court on Monday learned of a mother’s sick act to stop her child from disturbing a night of sex with her drug-dealing boyfriend.
Little Poppy Widdison, 4, succumbed to cardiac arrest in June 2013 following an overdose of diazepam, or Valium, that was allegedly administered to her at the request of her 37-year-old mother, Michala Pyke, so says the Grimsby Telegraph. According to court documents, traces of the sedative, as well as heroin, methadone, and ketamine, were found in Poppy’s hair following her autopsy, which officials say most likely came from Pyke’s boyfriend, 40-year-old John Rytting, who is also facing charges.
— ReverseDieting (@eReverseDieting) November 29, 2016
On the night of June 9, an ambulance was called to Rytting’s “squalid” Grimsby home, where health workers discovered Poppy on the living room couch unresponsive, not breathing and turning blue. She was rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where the decision was made the next day to remove her from life support. Despite evidence from the autopsy and numerous arrests of both Rytting and Pyke for past drug-related issues, the investigation into Poppy’s passing has never uncovered a true cause of death.
During proceedings for the case, prosecutor David Gordon relayed an alleged text conversation between Pyke and Rytting that took place the week before Poppy’s demise.
“Got a bottle of wine if [you] wanna share,” the mother allegedly told Rytting. “Text back before I leave in half an hour. She can have a blue Smartie and go [to] sleep!”
In a latter message, it becomes clear that it is not the first time Pyke has allegedly given “blue Smarties,” the occasional street name for diazepam, to her daughter.
“Get them blue Smarties ready, the ones she likes.”
“In text messages in the last week of Poppy Widdison’s life,” Gordon further explained to the court, “Mr. Rytting and Miss Pyke are referring to getting some diazepam tablets ready to give to Poppy in order to, we say, to sedate her.”
“[Obviously], the defendants [were] just wanting to get on with their love life,” he continued, “wanting to enjoy each other’s company, and it may be this young girl was something of an encumbrance.”
“[Pyke] regarded her own child as a nuisance [for] interfering with the enjoyment in her own relationship with Mr. Rytting.”
Adding to that speculation were bruises and blemishes that were found on Poppy’s body during her autopsy. A postmortem report marked injuries and skin discolorations on the schoolgirl’s buttocks, upper arms, and the back of her thighs. By her own admission, Pyke concurred that she often thought of her child as an “inconvenience [to] her relationship” with Rytting, but claimed to have only physically disciplined Poppy with smacks to her bottom and hands.
— Grimsby Telegraph (@GrimsbyTel) November 13, 2015
Gordon says that although the illegal drugs were prevalent in Poppy’s system, they were the main factor in the ending of her all-too-short life.
“The medical and scientific experts seem to agree that drugs did not contribute to Poppy’s death,” he remarked, “but also agree that the findings indicated a long period of ill-treatment and neglect, apart from grossly inappropriate administration of various drugs to the child by the defendants.”
As the matter now stands, both Pyke and Rytting have each accepted a single charge of cruelty for assault, ill-treatment, or neglect of a child for exposing Poppy to controlled substances. In addition, Rytting has also pleaded guilty to two drug offenses, although he was initially handed down three of currently unknown terms and conditions. Neither has been charged with more serious offenses due to the true nature of Poppy’s death never being uncovered.
“The defendants are not charged with murder or manslaughter,” Gordon shared with the court.
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