A SICK mum who left her asthmatic son to die alone in the garden "gasping for air" has today been jailed.
Laura Heath, 40, deliberately "prioritised her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine" over Hakeem Hussain and used his inhalers to smoke drugs.
The seven-year-old was forced to live in squalor in the months leading up to his death as drugs became Heath's "principal focus in life".
He was made to sleep on the sofa in the filthy house in Birmingham while his vile mum funded her habit with sex work in the bedroom.
Heath was today jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter following a grim trial at Coventry Crown Court.
She previously admitted four counts of child cruelty.
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Sentencing, Mr Justice Dove said Hakeem's death resulted from Heath's "catastrophic and deplorable" parenting after her life "entered a drug-fuelled downward spiral into squalor, chaos and tragedy".
He added: "It is clear that in his tragically short life [Hakeem] had been an inspiration of happiness and affection for people who knew him.
"All of that potential for a wonderful and fulfilling life was cut short, extinguished as he collapsed on his own suffocating, clutching a leaf in the garden.
"The truth is that Hakeem died as a result of your deplorable negligence. You had allowed your life to be completely overtaken by your addiction to heroin and cocaine. His death was needless, tragic and a result of your abject failure as his mother."
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Grim photos of the cramped family home in Birmingham showed rubbish piled up in the "unclean" rooms that "smelled of raw smoke."
Shockingly, police also found Hakeem’s asthma pumps wrapped in foil next to "drug paraphernalia".
Heath flouted medical advice and failed to keep his asthma under control.
His breathing got worse "day by day" just two days before his death, a school nurse warned Hakeem could "die over the weekend".
On November 26, 2017, Hakeem had gone outside to get air, which he would usually do if his asthma was bad.
Usually he would wake his mum and ask her to give him an inhaler but she did not "come to his aid" on this occasion.
She was in a drug-induced sleep at the time having smoked three bags of heroin that night.
Hakeem was tragically found lifeless and "freezing" in the garden clutching a leaf in his hand with no sign of his medication near him.
His mum called 999 at 7.37am on November 26 – around six hours after tapping was heard at a downstairs window by a nearby resident.
She told the operator: "He’s dead… my son. He’s took himself outside when we’re asleep because he’s got asthma… and he’s fell asleep… he’s dead.
"He must have woke up and took himself outside so he can… he’s got asthma… he’s fell asleep outside… he must’ve done… he didn’t wake me up."
Heath then told the operator Hakeem was "blue and stiff" before adding: "There's no saving him. He's gone."
The sobbing mum was also heard saying "He's my baby, he's my baby" in the harrowing 999 call.
After he died, high concentrations of heroin and cocaine were found in Hakeem's hair that in an adult would indicate "active use".
His lungs were also "hyper-inflated, narrowed, stiffened and inflamed as a consequence of neglect" and he had inhaled cigarette smoke.
Prosecutor Matthew Brook said: "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.
"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."
Heath was Hakeem's sole carer between May 2016 and November 2017 despite her drug addiction "spiralling out of control".
In May 2017, the youngster was identified as a "child in need" by a social worker.
In his final months, a referral was made to Birmingham Children's Services after Hakeem recorded 59 unauthorised absences from school.
He was also admitted to hospital three times – including in September 2017 when he suffered an "acute life-threatening asthma exacerbation".
A serious case review was launched into Hakeem's death with Birmingham Children's Trust admitting there were "clear missed opportunities".
After the verdict, children and staff at Nechells E-Act Academy where Hakeem was a pupil said: "Hakeem was a most beautiful little boy, a great friend to many staff and children with a wicked sense of humour and an infectious giggle.
"He was a warm and generous-hearted soul who was talented across many areas of the curriculum but especially so in music and the arts.
"He totally stole the show with his performance as the 'Christmas Star' in the year-two nativity play with his clear speaking voice and stage presence.
"There wasn't a dry eye in the house as he delivered his lines with poignancy, grace and humour.
"The twinkle in his beautiful eyes was as bright as the stars in the sky, and our love for him will shine out forever, from all of his Nechells family."
Detective Inspector Michelle Thurgood, of West Midlands Police, added: "Hakeem's death was untimely, tragic and preventable.
"He was a young boy who should have been enjoying a carefree and happy childhood.
"I am saddened by what happened to him and the desperately unfortunate circumstances that caused his death.
"His mother had a duty of care to manage the administration of his asthma medication.
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"Her life and home was chaotic and this had a detrimental impact on poor little Hakeem.
"My thoughts remain with his loved ones and I hope the court outcome offers some comfort."
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