Mum weeps in dock as she's jailed for four years after deliberately poisoning her 18-month-old baby with salt

A court heard the sodium poisoning came just the day after the mother had searched the internet to find out how much salt is appropriate for a young child.

A mum-of-two broke down in tears as she was jailed for four years - for poisoning her 18-month-old baby with salt.

The 29-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her child, deliberately poisoned her daughter.

A court heard the sodium poisoning came just the day after the mother had searched the internet to find out how much salt is appropriate for a young child.

She even sent numerous photographs of her daughter's "rapidly deteriorating state" to family and friends but failed to seek medical help.

Sentencing the mother-of-two at Truro Crown Court on Friday, Judge Simon Carr said it was "inexplicable" as to why the mother had done what she had.

Fortunately the child survived and has made a full recovery, the court heard.

The judge said: "You were convicted by a jury of the extremely grave offence of administering a poisonous or noxious substance, in this case salt, so as to endanger life.

"Overwhelming evidence on that day shows that you gave her a significant amount of salt.

"Sodium levels, at levels simply not seen in a child that survives.

"What makes all of this so inexplicable is that everything else I have heard about you shows you as a caring mother.

"You still deny what you did to this day. It is little short of a miracle that [the child] lived.

"An aggravating factor is that, not long before, you had searched for salt levels in children.

"And, having administered the salt, you did not seek medical treatment."

The child has now made a full recovery after the incident in April 2017, during which she was fed the vast quantities of sodium chloride in the form of "a drink or runny food".

Prosecutor Peter Coombe told the jury: "Medical experts say grams were administered and this has to be done by force feeding in a drink or runny food.

"There is no question of the child being able to consume such a quantity of salt and the only person in a position to do so that day was the defendant.

"Children never voluntarily eat or ingest such dangerous levels of salt because of the taste and extreme nausea it would cause."

He added it would have been disguised in something like milk before being given to the victim.

During the trial the court heard how the mum had searched the internet the day before her daughter was hospitalised, to see how much salt is appropriate for a young child.

She claimed that she had been searching this because the toddler's "lips were white and she had nephews whose lips went white when they had too much salt".

Jason Beal, representing the mother, told the court that proceedings had had a "lasting effect" on her, after she has had both her children removed from her full-time care.

Mr Beal said: "The defendant could have avoided draining court procedures by pleading guilty. These proceedings have had a lasting effect on her.

"She has been separated from full time care of both of her children. She is able to see them both, but in a supervised provision every six weeks.

"And of course she recognises that a conviction currently stands against her for the long term care of both of the children."

He also added that she has lost her job working with a charity, saying: "This is a woman who has worked generally all through her life, generally in care facilities."

The woman was given a sentence of four years, to serve a minimum of two. She sobbed as she was led out of the dock by police officers.

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