Teenager died ‘af ter mum gave him morphine as they binged on alcohol and sniffed aerosol’
Court told of ‘astonishing piece of parenting’ in family kitchen
A 15-YEAR-OLD boy died following a drugs binge with his mother at their home in an upmarket seaside town, a court has heard.
Holly Strawbridge, 34, gave her son Tyler Peck and his friend morphine and other substances as they drank alcohol and sniffed aerosols together.
Plymouth Crown Court yesterday heard that in an ‘astonishing piece of parenting’, Strawbridge mixed her prescription morphine and painkillers into their drinks. After the party, Tyler died from an overdose while sleeping at their home in Salcombe, Devon.
Strawbridge has pleaded not guilty to supplying Tyler and another boy with morphine between January 31 and February 3. She has also denied two further charges of cruelty towards the boys between the same dates.
The second boy cannot be named for legal reasons.
Prosecuting, Simon Laws, QC, said: ‘The prosecution say it was an astonishing piece of parenting. Any parent with an ounce of interest in their children’s welfare would do anything in their power to prevent a child from doing these things.
‘But there she was doing it with her son and also his friend.’
Opening the case, Mr Laws said: ‘This is a sad and tragic case involving the completely avoidable death of a young person.
‘What makes it a very unusual case is that the person who supplied him with the drugs that he took was his mother.
‘She sat with him and a friend – another 15-year-old boy – in the kitchen of their home, drinking alcohol, inhaling aerosol fumes and taking a cocktail of drugs, including two particularly dangerous drugs.
‘They had been prescribed to her for medical reasons but that night she was simply abusing them together with the two boys. Tyler went to sleep in the early hours and sadly he never woke up.’
Mr Laws said Tyler was popular and had left behind a wide circle of friends.
But he added: ‘It is right to say that he was also very challenging and difficult to manage as a parent. He had drunk alcohol from quite an early stage.
‘He regularly took all manner of drugs. He could be unruly and aggressive, perhaps especially when he had taken something.
But somewhere along the line, Holly Strawbridge seems to have got it into her head that drinking and taking drugs were useful ways for him to cope with life.
‘She not only tolerated his drugs use, she actively encouraged it.’ Mr Laws said that on the Friday night, Tyler had been out with friends, but one of their fathers had given them a lift to Strawbridge’s home at 10.30pm.
The court heard that Tyler had taken a whole or part of an MDMA tablet, and that he and two 15year-old boys planned to stay the night, sleeping in the same room.
One of the boys went to bed and took no part in what followed.
Then, Strawbridge sat in the kitchen sharing beer and peach schnapps with the other two boys.
It is claimed she also gave them liquid morphine, anti-convulsant medication and painkillers.
Mr Laws added: ‘She would mix the contents of some of the tablets into the boys’ drinks.
‘She offered them (liquid morphine) from the bottle cap and she would also mix it in their drinks.’
The barrister added that Strawbridge and the boys also inhaled fumes from an aerosol.
The court heard that Tyler went to bed about 2.30am, and his friends found him dead at noon later that day.
Mr Laws said that in a police interview, Strawbridge denied giving either of the boys drugs.
He added: ‘She added that it was nothing to do with her. It was an ordinary Friday night.’
Trial judge Paul Darlow asked the jury to consider the evidence with ‘absolute objectivity’.
Tyler’s father and grandparents sat at the back of court, along with a group of students.
The trial continues.
‘Encouraged his drug use’
On trial: Holly Strawbridge, above, is accused of supplying her 15-year-old son Tyler, left, and a friend with liquid morphine