1. ITV Report

Couple sentenced for toddler's methadone death

Riley Pettipierre Photo: Derby Telegraph

A Derbyshire couple have been jailed for manslaughter after their two-year-old son died from drinking his mother's methadone.

Sally Dent, a 33-year-old heroin addict and her partner, Shaun Binfield were found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court last month over the death of Riley Pettipierre, who died after drinking the heroin substitute at home last March.

Both had denied the charges against them. Mother Sally Dent was also found guilty of a separate charge of cruelty to a child for failing to keep methadone out of the reach of her child.

The mother and father 'wept uncontrollably in the dock' as the judge, John Milano QC, sentenced Dent to seven and a half years and Binfield to four years.

Judge John Milano QC said:

"You will both have his death on your consciences for the rest of your lives."

Sally Dent, a 33-year-old heroin addict and her partner, Shaun Binfield

During the trial jurors had heard that a green and yellow child's beaker containing the methadone had been placed on a chest of drawers in the couple's bedroom so Dent could easily reach the drink in the night if she needed it.

Dent, had been addicted to heroin and cocaine since she was 16

On March 13th last year Dent woke to find her son's lifeless body next to her in the bed, she called 999. When paramedics arrived at the flat in Belper they found the toddler's heart had stopped beating and his lips were blue. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Post-mortem tests showed that Riley had enough methadone in his blood, stomach and urine to prove fatal.

He was believed to have consumed between 10ml and 20ml of the heroin substitute, the court heard.

Traces of cocaine were also found in his hair.

Family and friends sobbed in the public gallery as the judge jailed the couple. Dent was handed a three-year-sentence to run concurrently for the second charge of cruelty to a child. The pair were told they would serve half their sentences before being released on licence.