Saturday, 27 November 2021

Poppy Widdison, born addicted to heroin, mother and ex-partner jailed

LONDON: She was born addicted to heroin, her name a nod to the drug her mother valued more than her children. To many, Poppy Widdison was a lively and happy child but behind her pretty innocence was a life overshadowed by drug addiction, violence and neglect. In her short, four-year life Poppy was never given a chance to flourish after being born into a chaotic home of domestic violence and drug use. In her final weeks, Poppy’s quality of life plummeted alarmingly in the squalid home of drug dealer John Rytting. Her “utterly unfit” mum Michala Pyke and Rytting fed Poppy sedatives because they saw her as an “inconvenience” to their relationship. In the months before her death, she was continually exposed to drugs including heroin, methadone and diazepam. ‘Vivacious’ Poppy died after suffering a cardiac arrest in 2013. Pyke, of Hull, and her ex-partner Rytting, have each been jailed for 13 years at Hull Crown Court for several charges of child cruelty towards Poppy and dealing drugs. Judge Jeremy Richardson QC pulled no punches and gave a damning verdict of Pyke and Rytting’s role in tragic Poppy’s death. “Poppy was born addicted to heroin,” he said. “Her name is the plant from which heroin is derived. “I don’t think this is any accident and reveals your (Pyke) deplorable attitude towards an innocent infant. You are malevolent and manipulative. You are utterly unfit to be a mother.” Poor Poppy’s card was marked from the start as Pyke continued to take drugs while pregnant. At one point, Pyke she told the authorities she wanted to terminate the pregnancy. But Pyke and Poppy’s dad, Brendan Widdison, had the child and were given the chance to look after Poppy. However, the couple continued to take drugs and their engagement with social services was sporadic at best.

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