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Baby drowns in the bath while mother meets drug dealer to buy crack cocaine

A drug-addict mother whose baby drowned in the bath while she was buying crack cocaine shortly after being visited by social services has been jailed for six years.

Harrow Council in north London Credit: Google Street View

Finola Cash was visited by Harrow Social Services on multiple occasions - including the day 11-month-old Ricky drowned.

The baby was submerged when his bath seat fell in to the water while his mother was outside their hotel bedsit in Edgware in north London meeting her dealer.

The baby died a month later in September 2014 in a children's hospice after suffering brain damage.

Doctors found he had crack cocaine in his blood as a result of either passive smoking or contamination from a surface or finger.

He was also suffering from a severe nappy rash caused by neglect to change soiled nappies.

Cash pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to six years. She was known to social services because of her history of drug abuse and domestic violence and had been moved in to the hotel so social services could closely supervise the family.

Credit: PA

You will have to live with the fact that you're responsible for this little baby's death for the rest of your life I have no doubt that will be a burden to you but responsible for Ricky's death you are.

You were grossly negligent. This was not the result of momentary inattention, this was the culmination of the continual failure to care for him.

You repeatedly put your own preoccupations above the interests of your child. You were more concerned with receiving your consignment of drugs than looking after your child. That afternoon you were under the influence of drugs.

– Charles Wide, Judge

Cash began heavily sobbing as she listened to the judge, who stopped during the sentencing to repeat:

An 11-month-old baby, 11 months old.

– Charles Wide, Judge

Sarah Plaschkes QC, prosecuting, said Harrow Social Services became increasingly concerned about Cash who had already been evicted from two other hotels for disruptive behaviour before she arrived at the Madonna Halley Hotel in August last year.

She said social workers made repeated attempts to engage with Cash who refused to co-operate.

Social workers suspected Cash may have been taking drugs following reports from neighbours but Cash failed to arrive for drug testing.

On the morning of August 23 a social worker made an unannounced visit to Cash and noted that she had no concerns.

Hours later Cash left Ricky alone in the bath, returning to discover his lifeless body after collecting drugs.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said Harrow Council has launched a review of the case.

As is routine, a multi-agency serious case review is under way, commissioned by Harrow Local Safeguarding Board. It would be inappropriate to comment further until its publication.

– Met Police