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

Scottish Daily Mail - - Comment - By Izzy Fer­ris i.fer­[email protected]­ly­mail.co.uk

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

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