A toddler drowned in a bath of scalding water because his mother fell asleep while high on a cocktail of drugs, a court has heard. Riley Lewis, two, had suffered horrific burns when he was found at his home in Hull, floating face-down in water thought to be 45C. Even after he was taken to hospital, his temperature was still a shockingly high 41C. As soon as paramedics arrived at the scene they found him face-down in the water and discovered he was still hot to touch. His mother, Kerry Abel, 38, told Sheffield Crown Court she had only left Riley alone for five minutes, but Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said experts in pathology and forensic science have agreed he must have spent at least two hours in the water. And on the day of her son’s death she had taken methadone, tramadol, her partner’s diazepam, and the painkiller pregabalin. There were also traces of heroin, cocaine, and cannabis in her blood. Miss Abel lived with Riley’s father Andrew Lewis and their children and had wanted the toddler to ‘inhale steam’ to treat a chest infection, the court heard. Andrew called 999 at 11.48pm on January 4, last year and said his son was dead. The first paramedics arrived eight minutes later. The court was also told that Abel was arrested at Hull Royal Infirmary after Riley was pronounced dead, she tried to kick a support worker and was verbally abusive to the police. Mr Wright said there were two estimates of the temperature of the bath water – that it was between 40C and 45C for several hours, or that the initial temperature was ‘considerably higher’ and it had cooled to 41C. The court heard the burns were caused after Riley had drowned.Miss Abel had been prescribed methadone to treat her heroin addiction.
She was given an emergency dose on January 2, but failed to collect her prescription the following day. The court heard pregabalin produces a ‘euphoric’ effect and Miss Abel described it as ‘a popular drug on her estate’, Mr Wright said. She had tried and failed to get her doctor to prescribe it. Mr Wright told the jury they could expect Miss Abel to say she was unwell at the time, had not eaten much, was in pain from an abscess in her mouth, and after feeling dizzy was knocked unconscious when she collapsed against a radiator. But he said the prosecution did not accept that because her account had ‘changed over time’ and been ‘modified and appended’ when she was questioned about it. Mr Wright said: ‘A far more likely scenario is that she put Riley in the bath and, affected by drugs, fell asleep. ‘Miss Abel deliberately took a cocktail of drugs during the day that would inevitably have an effect on her function, and as an experienced drug user, she well understood the dangers. We do not say that Riley was deliberately killed by his mother, Kerry Abel. ‘We do not suggest she wanted him to die or to be injured in any way. We do suggest Riley’s death was entirely avoidable and Kerry Abel was responsible for it.’ Miss Abel denies manslaughter between January 3 and January 6, last year, and the trial continues. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2666921/Toddler-drowned-left-45C-scalding-bath-two-hours-mother-fell-asleep-high-cocktail-drugs.html
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