Jury told Mansfield toddler had enough codeine in her system to kill an adult

A Mansfield toddler who died after allegedly being beaten and then poisoned had enough codeine in her system to kill an adult, a jury has been told.

Thomas Curd, 31, from Watford and Abigail Leatherland, 26, formerly of Liskeard, have been on trial at Truro Crown Court this week charged with murder, manslaughter by gross negligence, and causing or allowing the death of a child.

Eve Leatherland

Eve Leatherland

The prosecution has already outlined its case of how 22-month-old Eve Leatherland, Abigail’s daughter, suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and a lacerated liver in the days leading up to her death in October 2017.

The injuries that were sustained in the home she shared with the defendants could have proved fatal in their own right, the court heard.

The jury was told the partners of just a few months were “wrapped up in their own superficial world of video games, TV, texts, selfies and Facebook” while Eve gradually died just feet away.

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The prosecution claims that at least one of the defendants was responsible for inflicting the injuries and sedating Eve with the fatal dose of codeine, and that she had been dead for some time before a call was made to the emergency services.

Appearing to give evidence via video-link on Friday (March 15) was scientist and forensic toxicologist Dr Fiona Perry.

Dr Perry confirmed to prosecution barrister Sean Brunton QC that a sample of Eve’s blood had been taken away and examined.

Dr Perry said that the sample contained codeine and paracetamol which together combine to make co-codamol.

When asked by Mr Brunton the effect the drugs have on the body, Dr Perry said: “Side effects include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and confusion.

“It can also cause respiratory depression and slowed breathing, low bloody pressure and a combination can combine and lead to death.”

Dr Perry confirmed that test results showed Eve had been given codeine, in a potentially fatal amount.

She said: “The concentration was much higher than therapeutic values and within the range associated with fatalities from codeine.

“Most of the data based on codeine overdose is for adults and medical advice indicates that codeine shouldn’t be given to children aged under 12.”

Eve is also said to have a concentration of paracetamol higher than therapeutic values and a level associated with “an excessive dose”.

Dr Perry told the jury that although she couldn’t say with any certainty how much codeine and paracetamol had been given to Eve, both drugs had been ingested a matter of hours before the blood sample was taken as anything before that would have been eliminated from Eve’s system.

According to Dr Perry, it was possible that both the codeine and paracetamol could have been ingested together.

Earlier that morning the trial heard from product tester Suzie Radcliffe-Hart who examined Eve’s cot.

Ms Radcliffe-Hart described how the cot had a number of broken slats, some of which she said would have taken some force to break.

Curd and Leatherland deny the charges against them.

The trial continues.

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