REGIONAL NEWS: Couple jailed over death of tragic four-year-old girl fed drugs to keep her quiet

Poppy Widdison
Poppy Widdison
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Two drug dealers who allowed a four-year-old girl to eat heroin, diazepam, methadone and ketamine for months before her death have each been jailed for 13 years.

Michala Pyke and John Rytting fed Pyke's daughter, Poppy Widdison, sedatives to 'subdue and sedate her' to allow the couple to indulge in 'squalid passion', Hull Crown Court heard.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC branded Pyke 'utterly unfit to be a mother' and said she saw Poppy as an 'inconvenience' in her relationship with Rytting.

The judge said both Pyke and her partner 'bear huge responsibility for blighting the life of a pretty, vivacious little girl'.

He said Poppy was born a heroin addict and suggested Pyke even named her in reference to a drug.

Judge Richardson said Pyke had a 'deplorable attitude' to her daughter.

He said Pyke and Rytting had existed in a 'swamp of drug addiction and drug peddling' and that Poppy's life had been 'tragic'.

Poppy died in June 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest at Rytting's home, where prescription and controlled drugs were 'left lying around'.

A post-mortem examination could not establish a cause of death but toxicology tests found traces of various drugs in her system and showed the young girl had been exposed to and had ingested significant amounts of heroin and methadone for a period of between two and six months before her death.

Pyke and Rytting were both sentenced for child cruelty by allowing Poppy to be accommodated in a house where prescribed and controlled drugs were unsecured and within reach of the child and by encouraging her to ingest drugs.

Pyke, 38, formerly of Ladysmith Road, Grimsby, was also sentenced for child cruelty by emotional abuse, possession of methadone with intent to supply and supplying the drug.

The judge said her 13-year prison sentence was made up of nine years for the child cruelty offences and four years for the drugs offences.

Rytting, 40, formerly of Elsenham Road, Grimsby, was also sentenced for importing drugs, two counts of supplying controlled drugs and one count of possessing cannabis with intent to supply. He received eight years for child cruelty offences and five for the drugs offences.

Judge Richardson said: "The life of Poppy may only be characterised as tragic from the moment she was conceived to the moment she died."

The judge said Pyke 'emotionally abused' her young daughter and her conduct was 'cruel and deliberate'.

Sentencing her, the judge added: "You, Pyke, plunged that infant into the mire of drugs and the utter degradation of your unwholesome life.

"It is clear to me that you both regarded Poppy as something of an irritant in respect of your baleful romance.

"You are utterly unfit to be a mother and abused your infant daughter in a significant manner by giving her drugs."