Mother guilty of child neglect after son is killed drinking poison

Lauren Booth, 23 at Bradford Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Lauren Booth, 23 at Bradford Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A mother was yesterday found guilty of child neglect after her two-year-old son died after drinking poison.

Bradford Crown Court heard Lauren Booth, 24, was growing cannabis in her home in Norris Close, Huddersfield, and was using the pH Up substance, commonly used in hydroponic growing.

The court heard she was asleep when her son Aaron drank the toxic liquid just after midday on November 6, 2010. She denied wilfully ill-treating or neglecting her son but was found guilty by a jury after two hours of deliberations.

She was granted bail while reports are carried out into her background and she will be sentenced on April 16.

The jury was told Aaron had not been fed and was probably extremely hungry and thirsty when he drank the additive.

Thomas Storey, prosecuting, said information on a notebook and laptop seized from the house by police, as well as Booth’s comments to Aaron’s father while their son was in hospital, showed that the substance was being used for growing cannabis.

Aaron died 11 days later at Leeds General Infirmary after his windpipe disintegrated. He had suffered several other injuries, including burns to his stomach, pancreas and spleen.

The court heard that Booth and her partner were awoken by a loud thud at about 12.40pm on November 6, to find Aaron lying down with a brown mouth and lips.

Booth’s partner, who spent a lot of time at the house, ran across the road to borrow a telephone to call the emergency services.

By the time paramedics arrived, Aaron’s mouth and lips were purple and he was foaming at the mouth.

He was taken to hospital in Huddersfield before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary.

The court heard that Aaron’s father, Mohammed Khan, who was no longer in a relationship with the boy’s mother, did not know that his son was in hospital until November 14, after a friend told him.

That day he went to Leeds General Infirmary where Booth seemed more concerned about having to move her cannabis plants than her son’s condition, according to the prosecutor.

Mr Storey: “She told him that she and her partner had been trying to make some money by growing skunk in the house, almost seeming annoyed by the involvement of the police because they were going to have to find somewhere else to grow the skunk, seemingly not bothered about her son.”