Hakeem Hussain: Inside a house where a ‘neglected’ 7-year-old died and his mother ‘used her inhaler to smoke drugs’


Shocking footage shows how a mother ‘used her seven-year-old son’s asthma pump to smoke drugs’ before he was found dead, a court has heard.

Hakeem Hussain was found by paramedics in the garden of a house in Cook Street, Birmingham on November 26, 2017 after suffering an asthma attack.

The temperature outside at the time was close to zero, at 2 or 3C, and Hakeem was wearing only a top and pajama bottoms, the jury was told.

His mother, Laura Heath, 39, is on trial for the manslaughter of her son, which she denies.

Photos shared with The Independentand which were shown to the jury at Coventry Crown Court, show Laura Heath and Hakeem’s house full of rubbish and disorder.

The prosecution argued photos taken by West Midlands Police show how Hakeem’s mother ‘used her blue inhalers to smoke drugs’.

Describing the images, prosecuting attorney Matthew Brook said: “Blue inhalers with foil on them.

“His use of asthma equipment to smoke drugs, one might think, is a metaphor for his neglect of Hakeem.”

Hakeem’s asthma gear was ‘used to smoke drugs,’ prosecutors say

(West Midlands Police)

‘Defendant’s drug addiction was spiraling out of control,’ lawyers say

(West Midlands Police)

Prosecutors argued that at the time of Hakeem’s death, “the heroin and crack supply” had become his mother’s “first priority in life”.

The court heard that Laura Heath and Hakeem had temporarily moved from a house in Long Acre to a house in Cook Street in the days before Hakeem died, with Heath moving back and forth between properties.

Jurors were shown photos of both properties to illustrate how Hakeem and his mother lived at the time.

They heard how Chloe Cooper, a friend of Laura Heath, had gone to the Cook Street address around 1.20am on November 25, 2017 to meet Heath. She had been “shocked” by the scene she found there, describing it as “not clean” and smelling of “gross smoke”.

Ms Cooper carried Hakeem to the Long Acre property with Heath, the court heard, but found the other house to be worse than Cook Street.

Ms Cooper told the court that in the past Laura Heath’s homes had been ‘decent and pleasant’, adding that she was a ‘fabulous cook’.

However, she described the Long Acre property, saying, “It wasn’t home for her or Hakeem at all. It was just bags and bags. As soon as you entered. The kitchen was disgusting. The front room was not nice. That was not how I knew Laura lived.

Ms Cooper said Hakeem had no bedroom but slept on the couch.

The property bed at Long Acre

(West Midlands Police)

Friend Chloe Cooper told court Hakeem slept on a couch instead of a bed

(West Midlands Police)

One of Hakeem’s primary school teachers, Neelam Kumari, told the court she believed the seven-year-old had been “neglected” by his mother. Asked about his appearance at school, Ms Kumari said: ‘He was neglected. Dirty hair, overgrown, dirty clothes. You could see on his hands that he hadn’t had a bath for I don’t know how many days.

“He wasn’t very well looked after, physical-wise.” She added that her asthma had gotten worse “day by day”.

Asked by police how her drug use was affecting her son, Laura Heath said: ‘It doesn’t help, that’s for sure’

(West Midlands Police)

A paramedic who arrived in Cook Street described the flat as ‘messy, cluttered and dirty’. Hakeem’s body had been moved to this living room after being found in the garden.

(West Midlands Police)

A teacher at the school, Hannah Fennell, said Hakeem’s uniform and bag smelled like cigarettes and she asked a colleague at the time: “If his bag smells like that, what did his house smell?”

She testified that her sweater smelled like “stale urine”.

A child protection meeting with Hakeem’s teachers and his social worker had taken place just two days before he was found dead, the court heard.

At the meeting, the school nurse warned that Hakeem was in danger of dying and that he should be separated from his mother immediately.

But the panel decided that while Hakeem was at serious risk, he should not be removed to his mother’s care just yet.

Items were strewn across the kitchen floor at the Long Acre property

(West Midlands Police)

Leaf found in bedroom of Long Acre estate

(West Midlands Police)

On November 26, 2017, Hakeem Hussain “died alone” of a severe asthma attack outside the Cook Street property after going out overnight for fresh air and relief of his asthma, the jury.

Lawyers told the court that “Hakeem went to bed around 10 p.m. the night before.”

“The defendant says she joined him in the same bed an hour or two later after smoking heroin in the living room…Usually when he was having trouble breathing he would wake his mother” , added lawyer Matthew Brook.

“Evidence shows that on this occasion his mother did not come to his aid and unfortunately Hakeem’s lifeless body was found in the garden…there was no sign that his medication for asthma were with him.”

The trial continues.

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