A drug-dealing father has been sentenced to prison after his seven-month-old child passed away with residues of cocaine and cannabis in her system.
After a fight on July 6, 2019, Darryl Avery, 29, removed the infant from her mother’s Newton Abbot, Devon, house while she was still nursing.
After crashing his car, he took her to a cookout where alcohol and drugs were available.
It’s possible that Avery exposed the infant to narcotics through their milk when she persuaded two relatives to breastfeed her.
She was found lifeless and unable to breathe the next morning and attempts by paramedics to revive her failed.
A post mortem examination found no definitive cause of death and there was no evidence Avery’s neglect or the drug traces in her blood contributed to her death.
He was convicted of child cruelty instead of a more serious charge.
A police raid at his home showed he had been dealing cannabis and they found a broken taser disguised as an iPhone.
In a victim impact statement, the baby’s mother said: ‘When I heard my child had been in an accident, I wanted her checked over but I found out he never sought medical help. He was not concerned about the welfare of the child. His only concern was to not get in trouble.
‘When I got the phone call on Sunday, it was the most devastating call any parent can receive. I was in panic and distressed and went to help. It was so difficult to see her being worked on by paramedics. It is something I can’t get out of my head.
‘My whole life is in turmoil. I was not allowed to see her for almost 24 hours before her death. I will never forgive Darryl for that. I still feel she would not have passed away if I had been there.
‘It was horrible not being able to breast feed my own child. When I heard that others had done it, I felt disgusted. I just want justice for my child. I want the court to know that what Darryl did was not acceptable.’
Avery, of Bovey Tracey, Devon, admitted child cruelty, possession of cannabis with intent to supply, possession of a prohibited weapon and an unrelated charge of affray and was jailed for three years.
Recorder Malcolm Galloway said: ‘You deliberately kept the child from her mum from Saturday until Sunday morning, when she received the most devastating call any parent can receive and was told her daughter was not breathing.
‘I make clear that this tragic death cannot be linked to your actions. The cause of death is listed as ‘unascertained’, but you have kept her away from her mum. That is something that will haunt her for the rest of her life.
‘I find the exposure of the child to drugs to be the most serious factor in this case.’