Poppy Widdison: Pair jailed for 13 YEARS EACH over death of four-year-old
January 19, 2017.
THE mother and former partner of tragic schoolgirl Poppy Widdison were finally sentenced today.
Mother Michala Pyke and John Rytting were each jailed at Hull Crown Court for 13 years today after being found guilty before Christmas of child cruelty and drug offences.
Mother Michala Pyke, 38, formerly of Ladysmith Road, Grimsby, but later of Hull, and John Rytting, 40, formerly of Elsenham Road, but recently of Frederick Street, Grimsby, had each denied cruelty towards Poppy, four, while responsible for her, between January 1 and June 9, 2013, causing unnecessary suffering. But both were convicted at Hull Crown Court.
Case details of Michala Pyke and John Rytting
Rest in Peace Poppy #gonetosoon💔
Mother jailed for drugging daughter with ‘blue Smarties’ because child got in the way of her love life
A mother who fed her four-year-old daughter sedatives under the guise of “Smarties” because she was an “inconvenience” to her love life has been jailed for 13 years.
Michala Pyke, 38, gave little Poppy Widdison drugs to sedate the youngster which she referred to in text messages as “blue Smarties”.
Poppy was later found unresponsive, blue and not breathing in the home Pyke shared with her drug dealing partner John Rytting, 40, in June 2013.
A post mortem into her death proved “inconclusive” but doctors traces of a drug cocktail with heroin, ketamine and sedatives including diazepam in her hair follicle.
Pyke and Rytting were convicted of serious child cruelty offences against Poppy following a trial at Hull Crown Court, East Yorks.
Rytting was also jailed for 13 years alongside his former flame for dragging the child into a “swamp” of drugs and forced her into “unremitting degradation”.
Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, told Hull Crown Court on Thursday the pair had “blighted the life of a pretty, vivacious little girl”.
Chillingly, he also highlighted that the little girl had been named after the very plant from which heroin – which her mother was addicted to – comes from.
Jailing Pyke and Rytting each for 13 years, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said: “Poppy was born in tragic circumstances – like her mother, Poppy was born addicted to heroin.
“The baby was given the name Poppy – the very name of the plant from which heroin is derived. That is unlikely to be a coincidence.
The last time we saw Poppy was her birthday – her fourth birthday. She was her normal, happy self, pleased to see us and excited about her birthday
“Poppy was born addicted to heroin and you plunged that infant into the mire of drugs. You were both living in the swamp of drug addiction and drug peddling.
“The short life of poppy was blighted by drugs – you [both] fed drugs to poppy for your own baleful romance while living in a mire of drugs.
“The abuse lasted several months and drugs were administered in that time. You Pyke treated your daughter badly and changed your demeanour in front of others.
“You both were the masters of unremitting degradation and authors of this horrific ordeal. You both bear huge responsibility for blighting the life of a pretty, vivacious little girl.
“Pyke you are malevolent and manipulative – you are utterly unfit to be a mother and abused Poppy by giving her drugs. This was serious cruelty over a long period of time and regular ill treatment.”
While the sentencing remarks were given by the judge, Pyke, who sported a blue fleece jumper, did not show any emotion.
Rytting replied: “Whatever.”
Prosecutor David Gordon said cops found 700 diazepam and over 300 temazepam tablets when they raided the couple’s house in Grimsby, North East Lincs., after Poppy’s death.
He said Rytting had bought the tablets from suppliers predominantly based in Asia before selling them on.
Mr Gordon said: “Text messages were found on Rytting’s phone from customers asking for diazepam using the code and asking for ‘blue’.”
The pair had pleaded guilty to a minor child cruelty offence of subjecting a child to an environment in the presence of drugs on the 11th hour prior to trial.
Watch | Poppy’s family: Michala Pyke and John Rytting will now serve justice
Pyke also pleaded guilty to child cruelty by emotional abuse after neighbours heard her calling Poppy a “little bastard”.
But Pyke and Rytting were both found guilty of serious child cruelty of administering prescribed/control drugs to Poppy.
Rytting, of Grimsby, North East Lincs., who admitted one count of importing drugs and two counts of supplying controlled drugs, was also convicted of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
Pyke, of Hull, East Yorks., admitted a charge of supplying methadone, was found guilty of possessing methadone with intent to supply.
The jury only took two hours to find the pair guilty of all charges and were both remanded in custody on December 15.
Katherine Goddard, for Pyke, said her client hadn’t given Poppy any drugs before she met Rytting and traces of two drugs found in Poppy’s hair belonged to Rytting.
She said: “Michala Pyke is a damaged and troubled individual. Whatever her battles [Pyke’s] with drugs for the majority of her life Poppy was well cared for and loved.
“Michala Pyke managed to juggle her need for drugs and the needs of her daughter. Until Michala Pyke began the relationship with John Rytting, however difficult life was Poppy was well cared for.
“It was the start of this relationship which was toxic, in both senses of the word, that the care she gave her daughter fell away. She is responsible for the death of her daughter morally, not in law.”
Timothy Roberts, representing Rytting, told the judge that his client shouldn’t be held as responsible as Pyke for causing Poppy’s death.
Mr Roberts said: “Mr Rytting had been in [Poppy’s] life for about six weeks and what can be agreed is that he only had partial responsibility for care of her.”
Speaking outside court, Poppy’s father Brendan Widdison, said: “We as a family could not contact Michala in the last few weeks before poppy’s death.
“However, if we had known… the concerns of the social care, we might have acted differently as a family. We had no concerns.
“The last time we saw Poppy was her birthday – her fourth birthday. She was her normal, happy self, pleased to see us and excited about her birthday.
“We as a family could not have forseen what would have happened and in this case we don’t believe social care could have either.
“Thank you all very much. We would also like to say thank you to the police and everybody involved in the case.”
Court Case details…..
Poppy Widdison, 4, death: Court hears ‘little girl was fed drugs’
November 29th 2016
A MOTHER and her boyfriend “fed” sedative drugs to four-year-old Poppy Widdison, who later died, because she was an “inconvenience” to their “love life”.
The mother told him in a text message to give her daughter a “blue Smartie” – a nickname for the tranquilliser diazepam, a court heard.
Traces of different drugs were found in the girl’s hair and Poppy had suffered a “long period of ill-treatment and neglect”, the court was told.
Michala Pyke, 37, formerly of Ladysmith Road, Grimsby, but now of Albert Square, Hull, and John Rytting, 40, formerly of Elsenham Road, but recently of Frederick Street, Grimsby, each deny two offences of cruelty towards Poppy while responsible for her, between January 1 and June 9, 2013, causing unnecessary suffering.
One of the charges involves claims that they encouraged Poppy to eat prescription or controlled drugs and the other that they assaulted her, causing bruising.
They both admit cruelty involving accommodating Poppy in a house where drugs were unsecured and within the reach of a child.
Pyke admits cruelty involving emotional abuse.
Rytting denies possessing cannabis with intent to supply on June 9, 2013 and Pyke denies possessing methadone with intent to supply on June 9, 2013 and supplying methadone between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012.
Rytting admits fraudulently importing Temazepam between July 1, 2011 and June 9, 2013 and admits being concerned in supplying diazepam and Temazepam.
David Gordon, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court that Poppy died of a cardio-respiratory arrest but the cause of it remained uncertain to this day.
The prosecution claimed that Poppy had been subjected to ill-treatment and neglect by her mother and her then boyfriend.
It was not suggested that the ill-treatment was the cause of the death.
An ambulance was called to the couple’s then home at Oliver Court, Grimsby, on June 9, 2013 and the crew found Poppy to be unresponsive, blue and not breathing.
She was taken to hospital and transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital but life support was withdrawn and she died in the early hours of June 10, 2013.
A post mortem revealed injuries, including bruising on her buttocks, upper arms and the backs of her thighs.
Samples taken from Poppy showed that she had ingested tranquillisers, including diazepam and Temazepam, as well as heroin, methadone and “dance drug” ketamine, often used also as a horse tranquilliser.
Hair samples suggested she had been exposed to drugs.
“The defendants are not charged with murder or manslaughter,” said Mr Gordon.
“The medical and scientific experts seem to agree that drugs did not contribute to Poppy’s death but also agree that the findings indicated a long period of ill-treatment and neglect, apart from grossly inappropriate administration of various drugs to the child by the defendants.
“This little girl had, on the face of it, been fed drugs.”
Drugs were found at the Oliver Court house in significant quantities and Rytting had imported some of them from abroad, including from Singapore in 2012.
Text messages referred to “blue Smarties” — diazepam — and one from Pyke to Rytting read: “She can have a blue Smartie and go sleep! lol xxx.”
Another from her read: “Get them blue Smarties ready, the ones she likes! lol xx.”
Another text read: “If we had just got that back room sorted, she would just have been locked in there.”
Drugs were allegedly used to sedate Poppy because the couple “wanted to get on with their love life and enjoy each other’s company”.
Poppy was “something of an encumbrance” as far as they were concerned and they preferred her not to be a “lively, typical four-year-old girl” and “preferred her to be more sedate”.
Pyke viewed her as “an inconvenience in the way of her relationship with Rytting”, claimed Mr Gordon.
Rytting denied possessing cannabis with intent to supply on June 9, 2013 and Pyke denied possessing methadone with intent to supply on June 9, 2013. They were convicted by the jury.
She admitted supplying methadone between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012.
Rytting admitted fraudulently importing Temazepam and diazepam between July 1, 2011 and June 9, 2013 and admitted being concerned in supplying both drugs.
Poppy, died on June 10, 2013, at Sheffield Children’s Hospital after being found unresponsive, and not breathing the day before at the couple’s then home at Oliver Court, Grimsby.
They were remanded in custody ahead of the sentencing today.
Follow coverage of the sentencing here:
11:51 Poppy’s uncle pays tribute to Poppy in emotional statement
James Widdison, Poppy’s uncle, said: “We have been waiting three-and-a-half years for this day.
“It doesn’t get any easier. The memories we have got of her are everlasting.
“We won’t ever be distanced from her. There is no such thing as closure with regards to this case.”
He added that no amount of time in prison would ever be justice for what Pyke and Rytting did.
The last time the family saw Poppy was on her fourth birthday when she was her “normal happy self” and was pleased to see them.
“We as a family could not have foreseen what happened,” said Mr Widdison.
Also outside court were Poppy”s father, Brendan Widdison, and her grandparents Judi Widdison, known to Poppy as Granny Widz, and grandfather Fred Soar.
11:15 Pyke and Rytting are jailed for a total of 26 years
Michala Pyke has been jailed for 13 years. She got nine years for the cruelty matters and a consecutive four years for the drugs offences.
John Rytting was locked up for 13 years. He was given eight years for the cruelty matters and five years for the drugs ones.
Pyke grinned as she was led away and Rytting muttered “Whatever” as he left the dock.
Poppy’s family say the prison sentences are a “good result”. A statement will be given by the family shortly.
11:09 Poppy was “drugged” for couple’s “own squalid reasons”
Pyke’s “performance” in the witness box by giving protestations of love towards Poppy was a “despicable masquerade”.
The judge added: “You drugged that child for your own squalid reasons.
“I regard drugging a child as exceptionally serious.”
11:05 Poppy was in a “swamp of drug addiction”
Pyke and Rytting were in a “swamp of drug dealing” and “plunged that infant into a mire of drugs and the utter degradation of your unwholesome life”.
Pyke was “exposed as a liar by the jury”.
The short life of Poppy was “fundamentally blighted” by Pyke’s criminal conduct and that of Rytting.
“You both bear a huge responsibility for blighting the life of a pretty and vivacious little girl in the period of time up to her death,” said Judge Richardson.
“You emotionally abused your daughter. You are a malevolent and manipulative woman.
“You are utterly unfit to be a mother and abused your infant daughter in a significant manner by giving her drugs, not merely exposing her to them.”
10:55 Life of Poppy was “tragic” from the moment she was conceived until she died
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the court that Pyke had no previous convictions but Rytting had a number of convictions, including wounding with intent.
They had been convicted of or had admitted “very serious crimes”.
He said: “The life of Poppy may only be characterised as tragic from the moment she was conceived to the moment she died.
“She was born addicted to heroin. That was because you, Pyke, as her mother, were addicted to heroin.”
The choice of the name Poppy, the plant from which heroin is derived, was unlikely to be a coincidence.
10:41 Sentencing hearing finally about to start after “mess” of delay
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the court that Michala Pyke was mistakenly taken from prison to Leeds Crown Court first, along with prisoners for that court.
A medical issue also arose with her and this had to be resolved.
The judge said he had spoken to the prison’s deputy governor about the “mess”.
He added: “It’s thrown the day into disarray.”
The case has now just been called on.
10:31 Pyke has now arrived at court for sentencing hearing
Those in the public gallery have just been told that Michala Pyke has arrived at court from prison.
The plan now is for the murder trial jury to be called in and sent away for at least 45 minutes while the Poppy case is heard.
10:16 Poppy’s mother and her ex-boyfriend could be facing double-figure prison sentences
The prosecutor in the case is privately predicting that Michala Pyke and John Rytting could get double-figure prison sentences.
Pyke has still not arrived at court.
10:06 Michala Pyke not expected at court until at least 10.30am
The court clerk has announced that Michala Pyke is not expected to be brought to the court until at least 10.30am.
She is being brought from prison, where she has been remanded in custody since being convicted of the offences she faced.
There will inevitably be a short delay after that while she is booked in to custody.
Her barrister, Katherine Goddard, is likely to want to speak to her.
The public gallery is virtually full for the hearing.
09:52 Another delay in the sentencing of Pyke and Rytting
The delayed sentencing of Michala Pyke and John Rytting was listed to start at 9.45am at Hull Crown Court today.
But barristers in the case have already said that Pyke is not yet at court.
This could cause a problem because the judge specifically arranged the early start because he is due to resume a major Hull murder trial at 10.30am.
The hearing is scheduled for 9.45am
Mitigation for Pyke and Rytting was heard earlier this week, but the judge wanted to consider sentence further until today