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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Drugs pair who exposed baby son to appalling risk jailed by Carlisle court

A court has jailed a young couple after hearing how they exposed their baby son to appalling risk through their “reckless” use of drugs.

Horrified onlookers saw 25-year-old Roxanne Irving, who had taken heroin and 10 tranquilliser tablets, weaving in and out of traffic as she pushed her baby son in his pram along busy Carlisle city centre roads.

Her boyfriend Gary Hetherington, 34, the child’s father, was in a nearby street collecting heroin after arranging the deal while out with her and the baby a few minutes earlier, magistrates heard.

Hetherington and Irving, of Toronto Street, Currock, had earlier each admitted a charge of child neglect. They were each jailed for 26 weeks.

Adrienne Harris, prosecuting, described how the couple took the baby – strapped in his buggy – to Carlisle city centre on November 13 last year.

Onlookers became concerned as they saw how Irving, pushing the pram, was weaving all over the pavement and into the road.

“She was leaning heavily on to the buggy and swerving from side to side,” said a worker from the Fusehill Street Spar shop who saw her.

It was raining steadily and there was no rain-cover on the pram, she said. Witnesses heard the baby sobbing.

Hetherington came into the shop and was heard discussing a drug deal on his mobile.

The shop worker described how Irving continued to put her child at risk outside.

She said: “She suddenly dismounted the pavement and went straight into the middle of the road – straight into the path of a Royal Mail van, which took evasive action to prevent them both being run over.”

Afterwards, Irving forced traffic to slow down and dodge her and the baby as she walked in the road. Another witness saw Irving pushing the pram in Chiswick Street.

“As soon as she was on the pavement, she fell back off again with the buggy, tipping it over,” she said.

Police eventually arrived and intervened. Irving, slumped by the pram, said her boyfriend had left. He had gone to collect heroin.

Irving admitted smoking heroin earlier that day and taking 10 Valium tablets while she was with the baby.

She accepted putting her child at risk.

Police found drugs paraphernalia at the couple’s home, including needles, tablets and scales.

John Smith, for Irving, said the incident lasted only 13 minutes. His client had been emotional and upset.

He said the future was now looking brighter and she had not taken heroin since the offence. “It was an isolated incident at a time of great stress,” he added.

Tariq Khawam, for Hetherington, said there was no evidence the child was at risk at the couple’s home. His client had tested negative for drugs since the incident.

Both solicitors lodged an appeal against the jail term.

Magistrates lifted an order that would have prevented naming the pair after a successful challenge from the News & Star.

David Taylor, chairman of the bench, told the defendants their actions amounted to child cruelty, adding: “This was reckless behaviour.” The year old baby is being cared for by somebody else.

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