Hakeem Hussain was found dead in a back garden in November 2017, less than three weeks after his mother Laura Heath failed to pick him up from Nechells Primary E-ACT Academy
Image: Birmingham Mail/BPM Media)
A mum accused of neglecting her now dead son was found ‘intoxicated’ from drugs after forgetting to pick him up from school, a court heard.
Hakeem Hussain was found dead in a back garden in November 2017.
The seven-year-old had woken up in the middle of the night suffering a severe asthma attack, Coventry Crown Court heard, Birmingham Mail reported.
He was unable to wake his mother Laura Heath, who had taken heroin the night before, in order to get his inhaler, the jury was told.
Less than three weeks before his death the mother was found by staff from Nechells Primary E-ACT Academy with eyes ‘popping out of her head’ when they knocked on her door after she failed to collect Hakeem, the court heard.
She fell off the pavement when she was accompanied back to the school where she tearfully apologized to her son and claimed she fell asleep, a jury was told.
Birmingham Mail/BPM Media)
The 39-year-old, of no fixed address, has admitted four counts of child cruelty but has denied the manslaughter of her son.
Neelam Ahmed, family outreach lead at the school, gave evidence yesterday, Tuesday, March 29.
She told the court Hakeem’s poor attendance in school became an issue and that she made a number of social services referrals expressing concerns, which included the boy being ‘hungry, dirty and tired’.
Ms Ahmed stated out of 52 school days from September 2017 up until his death, Hakeem only attended for 15 and a half of them.
She recalled visiting the family’s home in Long Acre in Nechells, Birmingham on November 1 and smelling cannabis.
The defendant admitted smoking it but claimed she had done so in the garden, Ms Ahmed said.
She then told the court she went to the home again on November 10 because Heath had not picked Hakeem up from school.
Ms Ahmed said: “Her eyes were red. Popping out of her head. Sort of had eye bags under her eyes. She came to the front. I do remember her saying she couldn’t find the keys. She was quite erratic, how she presented.
Birmingham Mail/BPM Media)
“I heard noises inside the property then she jumped over the fence and came around. She shut the front door behind her. She said when she returned she would look for the keys and go back over the fence.”
Confirming that she and a colleague accompanied Heath back to the school she added: “She almost walked or ran ahead of us as we walked behind her.
“She said she had fallen asleep. I remember her falling off the pavement kerb.
“Quite erratic the way she was walking. At that point I was concerned she was under the influence of something, substances or drugs.
“I remember her apologizing to Hakeem and saying sorry for falling asleep. I think Hakeem made a comment ‘she’s always falling asleep’, but before he finished ‘asleep’ she cut him off and asked him to get his things”
Previously the court has heard that Heath took Hakeem to stay at a home in nearby Cook Street after the gas and electric was turned off at her property for none-payment.
It was at the Cook Street address where the boy died in the early hours of November 26.
A post-mortem concluded the cause of death as acute exacerbation of asthma.
The four child cruelty charges Heath has pleaded guilty to include two offenses of ‘willfully neglecting her son by failing to provide proper medical supervision in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health’, and two offenses of ‘willfully ill-treating Hakeem by exposing him to heroin and crack cocaine’.
The court case continues.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.