Wolverhampton parents jailed after heroin death of tragic Daniel Jones
A father who killed his 23-month-old son with heroin was this afternoon jailed for six years – as the mother got four years for letting it happen.
Tragic toddler Daniel Jones is believed to have swallowed a wrap of the drug left lying around the family's home by his father in Penn, Wolverhampton.
Daniel was found dead in the bed he shared with his mother Emma Bradburn and father Simon Jones – both recovering drug addicts and each with a criminal past – in the early hours of May 29 last year.
The tragedy came two weeks after social services stopped monitoring the boy.
The bedroom in which he died was littered with drug paraphernalia. Foil and a needle were found in a drawer. There was evidence of heroin and cannabis being smoked, and cannabis leaves were being dried close to where he slept, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
A £3,000 cannabis farm was also being grown in the loft of the house, in Windsor Avenue.
Tests showed Daniel had been exposed to heroin for up to six months, either through swallowing or passive inhalation of smoke.
The child had also suffered chronic and repeated exposure to cannabis smoke.
Mr Neil Moore, prosecuting, said: "Jones left his heroin where Daniel could find it."
Both parents accepted that their son was 'into everything', picking things up and putting them in his mouth, the court was told.
Neither explained how the little boy came to swallow the fatal dose but Jones, who had been living at the family home only intermittently after a split with his partner several months earlier, admitted his heroin had killed the boy.
He tested positive for heroin after his son's death, the court heard.
Miss Kate Thomas, defending Jones, said: "This was an accident waiting to happen but this young boy was the apple of the eye of both parents."
Daniel would have been three years old last Saturday. His funeral is due to take place later this month.
Mr Christopher O'Gorman, for Bradburn, added: "She will never stop punishing herself for what happened. She expects no sympathy and acknowledges that she deserves none."
Jones, aged 30, admitted Daniel's manslaughter and was jailed for six years. Bradburn, 29, pleaded guilty to causing or allowing the death of their child and was jailed for four years.
Prosecutor Mr Moore said: "The potential dangers to Daniel of the defendants continuing to take drugs must have been obvious to them and the intervention of social workers brought this home to them with even greater force.
"He was exposed to a variety of drugs for much of his life." The couple, who had both been heroin addicts for many years, remained friends after a brief affair in 2000 and resumed the relationship in 2008, the court was told.
Daniel had been under the supervision of social services from birth because of his mother's addiction and poor mobility following a major car accident. This monitoring had ended two weeks before his death. Mr O'Gorman alleged that welfare workers had known both parents were taking drugs when they reached that decision.
Tests showed the child had suffered chronic exposure to cannabis and opiates and occasional exposure to amphetamines and cocaine. It is unclear whether that was through the atmosphere or by ingesting the drugs but tests showed there was enough heroin in his body to kill an adult, let alone a young children.
Bradburn was badly disabled after suffering serious injuries in a road crash. Compensation money from the accident was used by her to buy the family home, a semi-detached house, shortly before Daniel was born. Sentencing them this afternoon, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: "Nothing I can say can bring this little boy back and you will both have to live with this forever. He has not had the chance of living at all. That is your responsibility.
"Both of you have been addicted to heroin for years. It is not clear what progress either had made in breaking that addiction at the time Daniel died but what is inescapable is that you had not done enough. Daniel had no choice over the dangers you exposed him to. You did and put your needs above his."
She told Daniel's mother: "You failed woefully to protect him from the dangers he was exposed to."
For a special report on the tragic case, including never-before seen pictures, see tonight's Express & Star.
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