Laura Heath, 40, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after her seven-year-old son Hakeem died following an asthma attack, as she prioritized drugs over him
Image: West Midlands Police)
A mum kicked her seven-year-old son out of his own bed so she could have sex with clients to fuel her drug habit.
Laura Heath was today convicted of killing tragic Hakeem Hussain as she “prioritised her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine” over the youngster’s health.
The youngster was made to live in squalor in the final months of his life, and was forced to sleep on the sofa as his mum commandeered the bed for sex work.
The 40-year-old used the money she made to fund her drug addictions, while Hakeem was made to sleep on the sofa in the filthy house in Birmingham.
She left her son to die alone in the garden from an asthma attack and even used his inhalers to smoke drugs.
Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said: “At Long Acre there was no bed for Hakeem. The bed was put over sex work, why? To raise money, what for? Her drug addiction.
West Midlands Police / SWNS.COM)
West Midlands Police/SWNS)
“Another example of where her priorities lay. She devoted her life not to her child but to sourcing, funding and taking drugs.”
Heath was found guilty today of gross negligence manslaughter following the trial at Coventry Crown Court.
She had previously admitted to four counts of child cruelty.
Sickening photos emerged from the cramped family home, with rubbish piled up in dirty rooms that stunk of “raw smoke”.
Police also found Hakeem’s asthma-pumps wrapped in foil next to drug paraphernalia.
In the lead up to Hakeem’s tragic death, a school nurse warned he could “die over the weekend” as his breathing got worse “day by day”.
On November 26, 2017, the youngster had gone outside at night to get air, something he often did when his asthma took a turn for the worse.
Usually he would wake his mum and ask for help, giving him his inhaler, but she did not “come to his aid” this time.
By the morning, Hakeem was found dead, his body “freezing” in the garden, clutching a leaf in his hand.
A resident downstairs heard tapping on his window in the early hours of the morning, before Hakeem was thought to have died.
At 7:37am his mum called 999 and told the operator: “He’s dead… my son. He’s took himself outside when we’re asleep because he’s got asthma… and he’s fell asleep… he’s dead.
“He must have woke up and took himself outside so he can… he’s got asthma… he’s fell asleep outside… he must’ve done… he didn’t wake me up.”
She said her son was “blue and stiff” and added there was “no saving him. He’s gone.”
On the call, she was heard saying “He’s my baby, he’s my baby”.
After his death, high concentrations of heroin and cocaine were found in Hakeem’s hair, which in an adult would indicate “active use”.
His lungs were also “hyper-inflated, narrowed, stiffened and inflamed as a consequence of neglect”.
Prosecutor Matthew Brook said: “The defendant had a duty to ensure the welfare of her son.
“She knew that he was suffering from severe uncontrolled asthma. There was an obvious risk that Hakeem might die from such an attack if she did not manage his asthma in accordance with the medical advice she received.
“Instead, the defendant deliberately prioritized her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine and flouted the medical advice that she received that would have kept her son’s asthma under control.”
In the final months of Hakeem’s life, a referral was made to Birmingham Children’s Services after he recorded 59 unauthorized absences from school.
He also ended up in hospital on three separate occasions, the latest only a month before he died.
A serious case review launched into his death found there were “clear missed opportunities”.
A statement from Nechells E-Act Academy, where Hakeem attended as a pupil, read: “Hakeem was a most beautiful little boy, a great friend to many staff and children with a wicked sense of humor and an infectious giggle.
“He was a warm and generous-hearted soul who was talented across many areas of the curriculum but especially so in music and the arts.
“He totally stole the show with his performance as the ‘Christmas Star’ in the year-two nativity play with his clear speaking voice and stage presence.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as he delivered his lines with poignancy, grace and humour.
“The twinkle in his beautiful eyes was as bright as the stars in the sky, and our love for him will shine out forever, from all of his Nechells family.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.