Scarborough woman jailed over daughter’s death

Claire Johnson
Claire Johnson

A woman who failed to call an ambulance and left her daughter dying from a heroin overdose in her flat in Scarborough has been jailed.

Claire Johnson, aged 41, admitted manslaughter by gross negligence and was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court today.

Daniel Kedge, who provided the heroin to Claire’s daughter Natasha Johnson, aged 21, was jailed for 16 months after being found guilty of supplying Class A drugs. He was cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Natasha died at Claire Johnson’s flat on Market Way on 23 May 2013.

She had arrived there the previous evening with Kedge, aged 41, and another man and they began drinking.

At some point during the evening, Kedge went out to buy drugs and when he returned he took some heroin before allowing Natasha to inject some herself.

The heroin had an immediate effect on Natasha, who was not an addict, and she collapsed and began struggling for breath.

Natasha was helped onto a sofa and put in the recovery position before Claire Johnson went to bed leaving her unresponsive on the sofa.

In the early hours of 23 May, Claire went downstairs and put a towel over Natasha after noticing that she was cold.

Later that morning Claire went back downstairs and realised that Natasha was dead.

A medical expert concluded that if immediate medical assistance had been sought for Natasha, her chances of survival would have been extremely high.

Detective Sergeant Jonathan Sygrove, of Scarborough CID, said: “Claire Johnson had a duty of care to Natasha which she quite clearly breached when she failed to call an ambulance for her when she collapsed after taking heroin.

“It must have been obvious that Natasha was in urgent need of medical attention when she collapsed and became unresponsive, and Johnson has never given a proper explanation as to why she didn’t get help.

“This was a tragic end to a young life which could most probably have been avoided if the person who was with Natasha in her hour of need had acted in a correct and responsible manner.”

DS Sygrove added that this case should send out a strong message to drug users that when someone is overdosing, it is vital that urgent medical attention is sought.

He said: “If someone you are with has taken drugs and is showing signs of overdose, it is important to call an ambulance straight away.

“You shouldn’t worry about the police attending, the ambulance staff will only call officers if there are any suspicious circumstances or if they require our support.

“Time is a crucial factor in overdose cases and any delay in calling for medical assistance could be the difference between life and death.”