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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK

Mother 'poisoned her son'

BBC News
Michelle Dickinson arriving at Liverpool Crown Court
Michelle Dickinson has denied killing her son

A mother accused of murdering her young son falsely claimed he was suffering fits and then poisoned him with prescribed drugs, a court has been told.

Liverpool Crown Court heard on Wednesday how Michelle Dickinson convinced doctors her son Michael had epilepsy.

He died in October aged seven after spending several months on a life-support machine in hospital.

The prosecution claimed Ms Dickinson, 30, deliberately inserted liquid and drugs into the boy's lungs through a tube in his nose four months earlier, knowing it could cause the fatal condition.


His days became days of stupefaction, drifting away from the world in his drug-induced state
Alistair Webster QC

Ms Dickinson, of Seascale, West Cumbria, denies murdering Michael on 14 October 2000 and five counts of cruelty dating from December 1996 to October 2000.

Alistair Webster QC, prosecuting, told the jury of six men and six women Ms Dickinson had managed to "obtain drugs in quantities which was far in excess of what a reasonable treatment would have required".

He told the court the anti-epilepsy drugs, prescribed by well-meaning doctors, reduced the young boy to "a pathetic state" over the years.

Protective helmet

"He became too ill to attend school despite efforts to make it possible to keep him there," he said.

"He became too ill even for a home tutor to do any meaningful work with him.

"He had to be fitted with a protective helmet because he could not keep upright.

"His days became days of stupefaction, drifting away from the world in his drug-induced state.

"Eventually, he was fitted with a naso-gastric tube, so as to administer both food and some drugs.

"It was this tube which was used by the defendant to cause his death."

Michael died from pneumonia in October 2000.

The trial continues.