'Ideal couple' Sheffield dad let baby daughter take drugs, court hears

A young Sheffield father who was high on cannabis when his one-year-old daughter suffered seizures after swallowing some of the drug was described as part of "an ideal couple."

Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 2:32 pm

Police were called by staff at Sheffield Childrens' Hospital when the one-year-old girl appeared "floppy and unresponsive," on March 4, 2018.

Her 22-year-old father appeared to be under the influence of drink or drugs and an ambulance crew refused to let him travel with them, prosecutor Amy Earnshaw told Sheffield Crown Court.

He later told police he kept the drug in a plastic tub on top of the fridge but couldn't understand how she could have reached it.

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Sheffield Crown Court.

"He said the first he knew of it was when his dauhgter was having a fit," said Ms Earnshaw.

He was unable to carry out the first aid instructions given by the 99 operator and his mother took over.

The girl suffered seizures and abnormal movements, and the same artificial cannabinoid was found in their bloodstreams. She was kept in overnight, but there were no further issues.

The court heard he has previous convictions from 2015, for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and from 2016 for battery.

The 22-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to causing unnecesary suffering to a child, on January 23.

Ruth Newnham, mitigating, said he is allowed contact when his mother, who looks after the child, is present.

The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said: "I am staggered that social services haven't commenced care proceedings."

Ms Newnham said the 22-year-old was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2012, but has now stopped taking drugs.

"He is absolutely appalled at what happened. He was at the time attempting to commit suicide," she said.

"He is now with a new partner. His support worker says "they are an ideal couple.""

The judge said this was an "astonishing assertion" and adjourned sentencing until February 20, for the defendant's support worker to give evidence.

"He was imbibing illicit drugs with the consequence that he was barely operating at a conscious level, which is disgraceful when you're caring for an infant," he added.

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