The crack pipe inhaler that was a ‘metaphor’ for Laura Heath’s neglect of asthma sufferer Hakeem Hussain


It was supposed to be Hakeem Hussain’s ‘relief’ treatment for his asthma, but instead was crudely adapted for his mother to smoke hard drugs. This ‘crack pipe’ inhaler tube wrapped in foil encapsulates Laura Heath’s neglect of her seven-year-old son.

He died alone overnight at a home in Nechells in 2017 after suffering a fatal asthma attack, while his mother slept through the night “having smoked heroin”. When his “frozen” body was discovered in the garden, he had only a leaf in his hand. He didn’t have his medication handy.

Following a trial at Coventry Crown Court, a jury found Heath guilty of manslaughter. The 40-year-old woman of no fixed address had previously pleaded guilty to four child cruelty offences, including two counts of “willful neglect of her son by failing to provide proper medical supervision in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health”. , and two misdemeanors of “wilfully abusing Hakeem by exposing him to heroin and crack.” She will be sentenced on Thursday.

READ MORE – Live Updates: Laura Heath guilty of manslaughter of son Hakeem Hussain

The lawsuit heard that throughout 2017, Heath mismanaged Hakeem’s asthma as she prioritized her growing heroin and crack addiction, which she funded through sex work. The jury saw a host of photographs revealing the squalid conditions of his home in Long Acre, Nechells, as well as the property of Heath’s friend in nearby Cook Street, where Hakeem died on the morning of Sunday November 26 this year .

The simple but austere image of an inhaler with a leaf attached to the mouthpiece summed up the defendant’s criminality, the jury was told. Prosecutor Matthew Brook, opening the case in March, said: “A glaring aspect of the defendant’s conduct is her use of Hakeem inhalers to smoke drugs.

The murder of Hakeem Hussain

“Each time she was about to smoke heroin or crack, the defendant was confronted with the risk of harm to which she was exposing her son by using her inhalers in this way. Her use of asthma equipment to smoke drugs is a metaphor for her neglect of her child, symbolizing the priority she places on her own needs over his safety.”

In his closing speech, lead prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC told the jury that one of Hakeem’s ‘asthma shots’ had been recovered by police from a bin bag. He said, “There’s another motive.”

Find all the major developments of the trial on our page dedicated to Hakeem Hussain here

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