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NSPCC urges families to report fears of neglect in wake of Poppy Widdison tragedy

Poppy Widdison died in 2013.

People who have concerns over the welfare of children are being urged to report their concerns in the wake of the sentencing of the couple who neglected Poppy Widdison.

The NSPCC charity has launched an appeal for anyone worried about young people or their home lives after the mother of four-year-old Poppy, Michala Pyke, and her ex-partner John Rytting were jailed for 13 years each.

The couple fed her diazepam tablets - drugs they called blue Smarties - to sedate her during a five-month period of physical and emotional abuse. It only ended when the youngster died in 2013.

Poppy was found with diazepam, temazepam, oxazepam, ketamine, heroin, codeine and morphine in her hair after suffering a cardiac arrest on Rytting’s sofa in Oliver Court, Grimsby, four years ago.

Poppy suffered appalling cruelty at the hands of two people who should have protected her from harm.

It is difficult to comprehend how anyone could feed a defenceless child Class A drugs to keep her quiet, and it is right that they now face the full force of the law.

The trial heard that neighbours were worried about Poppy, and we would urge anyone in this situation to report their concerns. Whether it’s behaviour they have seen at the school gate, or noises coming from next door – speaking out could ensure a child gets the help they need, and save them from serious harm.

They can contact the NSPCC helpline in confidence, 24/7, on 0800 800 5000, text 88858 or email, and speak to trained counsellors who will assess the information they give them and can take action on their behalf.

– An NSPCC spokesperson

Poppy Widdison's family reacts to sentencing of mother and ex-boyfriend

Poppy Widdison.

Members of the family of Poppy Widdison have given their reaction to the 13-year sentences handed down to her mother and her mother's ex-boyfriend today.

Michala Pyke, 38, and John Rytting, 40, were both jailed at Hull Crown Court after earlier being found guilty of child abuse-related offences.

Poppy was found with diazepam, temazepam, oxazepam, ketamine, heroin, codeine and morphine in her hair after suffering a cardiac arrest on Rytting’s sofa in Oliver Court, Grimsby, in 2013. It was the result of months of sedation.

We've waited three and a half years for this day and it doesn't get any easier.

The memories we've got of her are everlasting. We won't ever be distanced from that. There's no such thing as closure with regards to this case.

– Poppy Widdison's uncle, James Widdison, speaking outside court


Search launched for missing Grimsby man

Concern is growing for a Grimsby man who has been missing since the early hours of this morning.

David Chambers, 36, was last seen at around 3.20am today, when he left a friend’s home in Scartho, driving a white BMW 116D.

The car has since been located at Bradley woods, but despite an extensive search of the area, David has not been found.

He is described as white, around 6ft 2in tall, of stocky build,with a shaved head. He wore a black jacket and jeans, with black lace-up Timberland boots.


Councillors vote to close Grimsby ice rink

The ice rink is in Grimsby Leisure Centre Credit: ITV News

Councillors in North East Lincolnshire have unanimously voted to close Grimsby ice rink.

The facility, which is used by hundreds of people every week, was earmarked for closure in a council report - after officials admitted they cannot afford to keep paying the running costs.

Earlier today, a demonstration took place outside Grimsby Town Hall as councillors debated the future of the ice rink.

Jury retires to consider verdict in Poppy Widdison case

The jury has retired to consider its verdicts in the case of a mother from Grimsby and her ex-partner, accused of feeding drugs to four-year-old Poppy Widdison before her death.

Michala Pyke and John Rytting both deny child cruelty by administering or encouraging Poppy to take prescription or controlled drugs. Poppy died in June 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest. In tests after her death, seven drugs including diazepam and temazepam were found in her system, and heroin was found in her hair. The two defendants blame each other for the drugs getting into the four-year-old's system.

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