Mom accused of killing her seven-year-old son, ‘heroin takes precedence over his care’

Laura Heath is on trial for manslaughter after her son Hakeem Hussain, 7, was found dead at a house they were staying at in Birmingham

Hakeem Hussain
Hakeem Hussain

A mother on trial for the murder of her own seven-year-old son is said to have given heroin priority over his care.

Laura Heath is on trial for manslaughter after her seven-year-old son Hakeem Hussain was found dead at a home in Nechells, Birmingham in November 2017.

The court heard how the drug-addicted mother was allowed to retain custody of her young son despite a school nurse warning him he could die just two days before the child tragically lost his life.

Matthew Brook, prosecutor, told Coventry Crown Court: “The defendant deliberately prioritized her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine and disregarded the medical advice she would have received to keep her son’s asthma under control.

“Hakeem died as a result. He died alone in the early hours of the morning sometime between midnight and 6am.”

Heath denied the manslaughter charges of a third grade student who died of a severe asthma attack.

The 7-year-old died alone outside



His body was found in the garden of the house where they stayed


Birmingham Mail/BPM Media)

Just two days before his death, the court was told that a nurse had raised Hakeem’s safety at a child protection conference.

They said he was “in danger of dying” and might even “die this weekend.”

She called for Hakeem to be removed from Heath’s care, but although he concluded he was “seriously endangered,” he was allowed to remain there.

They lived in a house in Nechells owned by a man named Timothy Busk, who has since died.

The student, jurors were told, was suffering from “severe, uncontrolled asthma” and was found dead in the garden on November 26, with no sign of his inhaler or any medication nearby.

Describing the efforts Heath would go to to fund her drug addiction, prosecutors said she was not incapable of helping her son when he died, but did not make him a priority.

Nechells Primary School, which Hakeem attended


Birmingham Mail/BPM Media)

Heath, a mother of four, prosecutors said she regularly lied to friends and family, stole, and used sex work to fund her drug addiction.

She once took money from her mother on the pretense of paying for gas for the house, only to immediately spend it on drugs.

Prosecutors said: “Drugs unfortunately come before anything else in Heath’s life in this case, including Hakeem.

“She wasn’t unable to help Hakeem, she just chose not to make her son a priority.

“On more than one occasion when Hakeem was on Cook Street, the defendant returned to or near Long Acre to purchase drugs or to make money to purchase them through sex work, but she did not collect the principal drug.” from all; Hakeem’s Preventer Inhaler, or a working spacer through which it could be administered effectively.”

The court heard how Hakeem went to bed around 10 p.m. the night before his death and his mother joined him in the same bed an hour or two later after smoking heroin.

A police line in front of the house where he died


Birmingham Mail/BPM Media)

The jury was told that at one point the boy got out of bed and went outside, which he would do if his asthma was bad.

If he had trouble breathing, he would wake his mother as he had done the night before.

However, he would die out there. On the day Hakeem died, his mother called 999 at 7:37 a.m.

Around 1am, Mr Mohammed Ali, who lived in the apartment above Hakeem and his mother, said he heard the knocking on the ground floor window at the back of his house.

Flowery tributes and balloons line the street where the youth’s body was found


Birmingham Mail/BPM Media)

But the court was told when he looked out of the glass he couldn’t see anything, including where Hakeem appeared to be in the back garden.

Prosecutors said Hakeem died alone outside of a severe asthma attack and his body was found by Mr Busk.

As Heath dialed 999, she told the operator: “He’s dead son, he went outside with us while we slept because he has asthma and fell asleep, he’s dead, he must have woken up and gone outside , so that he can , he has asthma, he fell asleep outside, he must have done that, he didn’t wake me.”

Ambulance crews arrived within minutes, but Hakeem was already dead and was described as “freezing.”

Police arrested Heath on suspicion of child abuse.

The process goes on.

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