true crime

Four-year-old dies after mum fed her methadone so she could have sex without being disturbed.

Poppy Widdison was four-years-old when she died at the flat she lived in with her mother. She was found unconscious on the sofa and was rushed to hospital, but was unable to be saved.A school photo shows the tiny girl with neat pigtails held up with different coloured hairbands, her part neatly combed, she smiles, her hazel eyes bright, her uniform neat. Not a single trace of the horror the little girl endured at home with her mother.

Not a single trace of the fact that when at home with her mother she was allegedly fed drugs her mother referred to as “Smarties” but were really ketamine, methadone and diazepam given to the little girl so she wouldn’t bother her mother while she was having sex with her boyfriend.

A court has heard that Poppy Widdison’s mother, Michala Pyke, 37, and her partner John Rytting, 40, from UK saw Poppy Widdison as an ‘inconvenience’ and allegedly gave her drugs over a six-month period.

The Grimsby Telegraph reports that traces of different drugs were found in the girl’s hair and Poppy had suffered a “long period of ill-treatment and neglect

The court heard that Michala Pyke sent an SMS to John Rytting saying: “She can have a blue smartie [diazepam] and go to sleep lol xxx”.

Poppy died on June 10, 2013, at Sheffield Children’s Hospital from cardiac arrest but the forensic teams have not been able to agree on a cause of death.

Prosecutor David Gordon told Hull Crown Court: “Medical and scientific experts seem to agree that drugs did not contribute to Poppy’s death.

“The prosecution would say that at the very least Pyke was an irresponsible parent.

“Poppy was seen by Pyke as something of a nuisance or encumbrance because the couple wanted to get on with their love life and enjoy each other’s company.”

Michala Pyke Via Facebook.
The court heard a series of text messages between the two on the day she died showed she had been given diazepam that night.

Pyke: “She can have a blue smartie [diazepam] and go to sleep lol xxx”

Rytting: “You ok”

Pyke: “I have a bottle of wine if you want to share. I got £4 from mum so I can get you purple sourz [drugs]. Text me back babe.”

Pyke: “Get the blue smarties ready – the one she likes.”

Another message: “If we had just got that back room sorted, she would just have been locked in there."

Prosecutors say that in June 2013 paramedics were called after Poppy was found unconscious on the sofa around 9.15am

An inquest heard she had suffered bilateral retinal haemorrhaging due to a lack of oxygen and swelling of the brain, reports The Grimsby Telegraph.

Medics resuscitated her and established a pulse but she died in hospital the following day. Police then found more than 1,000 tablets of controlled drugs scattered around in blister packs in the home.

Prosecutor David Gordon told the jury the defendants are not charged with murder or manslaughter but with cruelty.

"The medical and scientific experts seem to agree that drugs did not contribute to Poppy's death 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.

"This little girl had, on the face of it, been fed drugs."

He said, “It is interesting in the text we say, the prosecution, that this is a reference of diazepam or administrating drugs to sedate the child.

“The words: ‘the one she likes’ suggests it is not a one off but a repeated course of conduct.”

Poppy as a toddler. Via Facebook.
Michala Pyke and John Rytting both deny two offences of cruelty towards Poppy while responsible for her, between January 1 and June 9, 2013, causing unnecessary suffering. They both admit cruelty involving accommodating Poppy in a house where drugs were unsecured and within the reach of a child.

Pyke admits cruelty involving emotional abuse.

The trial continues.