Toddler death: parents jailed

A couple have been jailed for killing a toddler who died when he drank his mother’s methadone from a child’s beaker.

Sally Dent, 33, and Shaun Binfield, 45, had denied manslaughter but were convicted following a two-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Their son Riley Pettipierre, aged two, was found apparently lifeless at their home in Kilbourne Road, Belper, on March 13 last year. Riley was taken to hospital but declared dead a short time later.

Dent was also convicted of cruelty to a child. Yesterday she was sentenced to a total of seven and a half years in jail, while Binfield was ordered to serve four years.

Judge John Milmo QC said Dent showed “reckless disregard” for Riley’s welfare. He told her: “You put your own convenience before your concern for the child’s safety.”

Speaking to Binfield he said: “You had the last opportunity to protect your son, you failed in that duty. There was simply no excuse for leaving the methadone where Riley could get to it.

“You will both have his death on your conscience for the rest of your lives.”

Simon Clarke QC, for Dent, said: “She was and remains a long-term drug addict of 15 years standing. She has made repeated attempts to rid herself of the addiction.

“They both attempted to provide a clean, comfortable and loving home. In one very important sense she will be punished for the rest of her life.”

The court heard Dent is now training to be a drug outreach worker in prison. She has been addicted to heroin since she was 16 and crack for the last two or three years.

Paul Mann QC, for Binfield, said: “His grief will remain whatever this court does to him today.

“He did otherwise do everything he could to try and protect this child and persuade his partner to cut down on the drugs.”