Mother denies growing cannabis

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A mother accused of neglecting her two-year-old son has told a jury she was exhausted from looking after him when she fell asleep the night before he drank from a bottle of toxic plant food.

Lauren Booth, 24, wept on occasions as she gave evidence at Bradford Crown Court yesterday about her son Aaron, who suffered fatal internal injuries after drinking from the bottle of “pH Up”, which can be used in growing cannabis, in November 2010.

Booth, of Norris Close, Almondbury, who denies wilfully neglecting Aaron, said she was not using any drugs at the time and no cannabis was being grown in the house.

She said she, her partner Sean Williams and Aaron had been out shopping the day before but her son was “kicking off” so they came home. Aaron was put down to sleep in their bed and she fell asleep on the sofa, waking at midnight when she woke up her son to give him something to eat.

But he had thrown the food on the floor, wanting to go back to sleep.

She told the court the first time she had seen the bottle of “pH Up” was the day before, on the window sill on the landing where her son had never climbed up before.

“What did you think was in it?” asked her barrister Michelle Colborne QC. “I don’t know.”

“Why did you think it was necessary to move it? Why did you decide to move it?” asked the barrister. “Because it might be dangerous to Aaron and it was just... I just pushed it out of the way,” said Booth.

She wept when Miss Colborne asked her what Aaron meant to her and it was revealed her second child, a daughter, had also been born prematurely last year.

The trial continues.