Two-year-old Aaron Booth died a prolonged and painful death after injesting plant food. Photo via BBC
Lauren Booth was spared a prison sentence for the death of her 2-year-old son, and as she left the courthouse she smirked and joked to shocked news media and photographers, “Are you going to follow me all the way home?”
Booth, 24, was given a suspended sentence by Judge Colin Burn, who said that Booth would have to live with the consequences of her “cataclysmic” neglect “long after any sentence has been served.”
Booth’s 2-year-old son died in a horrifically long and painful way, after drinking a bottle of toxic plant food that was intended for his mother’s cannabis crop while she slept in with her boyfriend, Shaun Williams, until after noon on November 6, 2010.
Booth was only awakened by the bang of her son collapsing to the floor of their Huddersfield home and gasping for breath.
The jury heard how little Aaron, who had not been fed and was likely very thirsty, probably mistook the bottle of pH Plant Feed for a children’s Fruit Shoot drink. The jury also heard that it was believed that Booth had turned her toddler son’s bedroom into a growing room for her pot plants.
Booth had left the bottle of plant feed on a windowsill without the childproof lid on properly where her “inquisitive and adventurous” son could easily get his hands on it.
The small boy had to undergo drastic surgery while doctors attempted to save his life. He had his stomach removed and part of his esophagus, but the potassium hydroxide in the plant food had burned away his windpipe. Despite his eleven day fight to live, the boy eventually died from his injuries on November 17.
According to prosecutor Thomas Storey, when Aaron’s father, Mohammed Khan, went to visit his son in the hospital, Booth seemed to be more concerned about moving her cannabis plants than the terrible condition her child was in.
“She told him [Khan] that she and her partner had been trying to make some money by growing skunk [a type of cannabis] in the house, almost seeming annoyed by the involvement of the police because they were going to have to find somewhere else to grow [the drugs],” the prosecutor said.
The judge told Booth:
“You had formed a relationship with Shaun Williams and it appears that Mr. Williams was responsible bringing into your house a bottle of liquid which of course was the cause of Aaron’s death.
You knew the content of bottle of plant growing liquid could be harmful to Aaron and you knew there was a risk Aaron could get to the bottle and you failed to take proper steps to prevent him getting to that bottle.
By simply moving it along the windowsill and forgetting about it and failing to get up in the morning you acted with negligence.
I’m bound to say that Aaron’s death was a prolonged and frankly horrible one. There is no other way to describe it. And it was preventable.
Your poor judgment led to fatal consequences. The evidence that this liquid was used for growing cannabis was strong. You should not even have allowed the liquid to be brought into the same house as Aaron.
By failing to move the bottle, or supervise him, you allowed this terrible event to happen.
Any sentence of imprisonment cannot bring back Aaron – no sentence can do that and you will always know that Miss Booth.”
Booth has since broken up with Williams, the father of her one-year-old daughter, who she is allowed to visit in foster care.
In a pre-sentencing report, the judge said that Booth had been a loving mother to her son and no purpose would be served by her going to jail.
Aaron’s father, Mr. Khan, was not smiling when he left Bradford Crown Court yesterday.
“It’s sickening. I’m shocked. Where’s the justice for Aaron? I wanted justice for him. I expected Lauren to be sent to jail. But now she can just carry on with her life as if Aaron never existed. I don’t believe she has ever shown remorse. She’s got her life but Aaron hasn’t got his. She should pay the consequences,” Khan said, reports the Daily Mail.
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