Images released of flat where ‘neglected’ seven-year-old died from asthma attack

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Laura Heath, who denies the gross negligence manslaughter of her son Hakeem Hussain, is alleged to have used his inhaler to smoke drugs.
Images released of flat where ‘neglected’ seven-year-old died from asthma attack

A picture of the living room at a flat in Cook Street, where seven-year-old Hakeem Hussain was found dead in the garden (West Midlands Police/PA)

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ictures have been released showing the inside of a property where a seven-year-old asthma sufferer was found dead in the garden after alleged neglect by his mother.

Images seen by jurors at Coventry Crown Court include the living room of the property at which drug user Laura Heath is alleged to have unlawfully killed Hakeem Hussain through gross negligence, after using his inhaler to smoke drugs.

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Jurors are currently hearing a second week of evidence in Heath’s trial, which has heard claims she repeatedly flouted medical advice.

Images released of flat where ‘neglected’ seven-year-old died from asthma attack

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Drugs paraphernalia and inhalers found at the address where Hakeem Hussain was found dead in the garden. (West Midlands Police/PA)

Prosecutors claim Heath deliberately “prioritised her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine” prior to the “preventable” death of Hakeem from an asthma attack at an address in Cook Street, Nechells, Birmingham, on November 26 2017.

Heath, formerly of Long Acre, Nechells, denies manslaughter but has admitted four counts of child cruelty, including failing to provide proper medical supervision and exposing Hakeem to class A drugs.

Pictures of the flat in Cook Street and Hakeem’s home in Long Acre have been released by police in the second week of the trial, showing the inside of the properties and items found there, including drugs paraphernalia and inhalers.

Opening the case against 39-year-old Heath last week, Crown counsel Matthew Brook said the death happened after Hakeem had been repeatedly absent from school and had experienced three emergency admissions to hospital.

After one of the emergency admissions, the court heard, a paediatrician recorded that Hakeem had been in an “acute life-threatening” state linked to asthma.

Mr Brook told the court: “The defendant had a duty to ensure the welfare of her son.

“She knew that he was suffering from severe uncontrolled asthma.

“There was an obvious risk that Hakeem might die from such an attack if she did not manage his asthma in accordance with the medical advice she received.”

Numerous professionals gave advice to Heath, the court was told, including at an asthma review in October 27.

Images released of flat where ‘neglected’ seven-year-old died from asthma attack

The kitchen of Laura Heath’s home in Long Acre. (West Midlands Police/PA)

On that occasion, the jury heard, Heath turned up asking for more inhalers and a nurse took the opportunity to give further advice about how she might manage Hakeem’s asthma more safely.

At the meeting, it was explained to the defendant that asthma can be fatal and that the importance of following the asthma plan was paramount.

It was also alleged that Heath spoke about Hakeem’s asthma triggers, which she said included airborne dust and tobacco smoke, which she was advised to avoid.

Mr Brook told the jury: “Instead, the defendant deliberately prioritised her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine and flouted the medical advice that she received that would have kept her son’s asthma under control.”

Mr Brook added: “Drugs, sadly in this case, came before everything else, including Hakeem.”

Addressing the circumstances in which Hakeem died alone in the early hours of the morning, sometime between midnight and about 6am, Mr Brook alleged that Heath had smoked heroin in the living room the previous evening.

The prosecutor said: “At some stage that night, Hakeem got out of bed and went outside, which he would do when his asthma was bad and he needed fresh air.

“Usually when he had difficulty breathing, he would wake his mother, indeed he had done so the previous night, and ask her to give him his inhaler.

“The evidence shows that on this occasion his mother had not come to his aid, and sadly his lifeless body was found in the garden outside the flat in Nechells where he and his mother were staying.”

Images released of flat where ‘neglected’ seven-year-old died from asthma attack

A picture shown to the jury of a kitchen work surface at Hakeem’s Birmingham home. (West Midlands Police/PA)

Heath is known to have rung 999 at 7.37am on November 26, around six hours after tapping was heard at a downstairs window by a nearby resident.

The resident got up and looked out of his window, but it was dark and he did not see anything, the jury heard.

The court has been told it is expected the defence will argue that the risk that Hakeem might die was minimal and did not amount to the crime of gross negligence manslaughter.

The trial continues.

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