A mother who gave her 15-year-old son a fatal cocktail of drugs and alcohol during a binge has been jailed for ten years.
Mum-of-five Holly Strawbridge plied her teenage son Tyler Peck with booze, morphine and strong prescription painkillers and sniffed aerosols with her son and his friend.
She was trying to be ‘cool’ and wanted to be liked by teenagers, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Holly Strawbridge (pictured), 34, has been jailed for ten years after supplying a cocktail of drugs including morphine and Gabapentin which led to the death of her 15-year-old son Tyler Peck. He died from ‘toxic poisoning’ in February last year
She poured cap fulls of liquid morphine into their beer and gave them strips of Gabapentin while in the kitchen of her family home in Salcombe, south Devon, in February.
The 34-year-old also gave the 15 year old boys spirits during the night time binge while her husband Gavin and their four younger children slept upstairs.
Schoolboy Tyler, who had a history of drink and drug abuse, later died in his sleep.
Strawbridge was jailed by Judge Paul Darlow at the crown court, yesterday.
He told her it was a ‘deliberate disregard for Tyler’s true welfare’ and said her son ‘died from toxic poisoning as a result of the morphine and Gabapentin you supplied him’.
She had condoned that sort of behaviour in her own house on previous occasions and it was not ‘a one off type incident’.
Judge Darlow said: ‘You took a misguided pride that your house was a place where 14 and 15 year olds could go and get hammered.’
Tyler (pictured) was regularly given drugs by his mother ‘to help him cope with life’, the court heard. His mother sold him Valium on one occasion and joined him with his 15-year-old friends who were given a mixture of beer, peach schnapps, aerosol fumes, Valium, morphine and Codeine
The mother’s attempt to blame two of Tyler’s 15-year-old friends was condemned by the judge was ‘callous and unreasonable’.
Her home was a well-known place where she would supply youngsters with heavy duty painkillers Oramorph and Gabapentin which had been prescribed to her for her own medical condition, the court heard.
Prosecutor Peter Coombe said 6’2″ tall Tyler regularly took drugs and his red haired mother even encouraged him, selling him Valium on one occasion.
He told then jury: ‘He had been drinking alcohol from an early age and had taken all manner of illegal drugs.
‘She wanted to be a cool parent and to be popular with young people.’
Strawbridge believed drinking and using drugs ‘were useful ways for him to cope with life’.
Artist sketch shows Strawbridge at Plymouth Crown Court. She had denied two charges of supplying the boys with a class A drug and two counts of child cruelty by sharing the drugs and booze with the youths
The court was shown a short mobile phone video in which Tyler and his mother were seen in a drunken state on the night before he died.
Mr Coombe said: ‘You would have thought that any parent with an ounce of interest in her child’s welfare would have done anything they could to avoid doing these sorts of things with her son.’
Tyler’s friend – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said he woke up to find his best friend lifeless.
He told police they had taken a mixture of beer, peach schnapps, aerosol fumes, Valium, morphine, Codeine and the painkiller.
He later told his parents: ‘Holly killed Tyler. She kept giving us these pills, strips of pills, she has overdone it this time. Holly was well and truly off it. She was drunk and off her face.’
Strawbridge had denied two charges of supplying the boys with a class A drug and two counts of child cruelty by sharing the drugs and booze with the youths.
The charity shop worker claimed she only gave the boys beer on that Friday night and Saturday morning.
The mother wanted to be a ‘cool parent and to be popular with young people’, the court heard. One of Tyler’s friends, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he woke up to find him lifeless after being given pills by the mother
She told the jury Tyler’s friends had made up stories about her supplying them with drugs over the previous two years and said Tyler’s father had offered them money to lie.
But the jury convicted her on all counts.
His cause of death was recorded as an overdose of Oramorph and Gabapentin, but he also had valium and codeine in his system – all of which had been prescribed to Strawbridge.
They were told Tyler started smoking aged nine, started using cannabis by the age of 12 before turning to hard drugs at 13 and 14.
Tyler had ‘lived to party’ and had taken LSD, MDMA, cocaine, ketamine, cannabis and drank whiskey and rum. He had intentionally overdosed twice, said social workers who said Tyler was a ‘bright, thoughtful and caring young man’.
Tyler had mostly grown up with his dad and stepmum but had been allowed to live with his mother for the last four months of his life, despite the concerns of social workers and his mental health worker.
Mr Coombe said Strawbridge showed a ‘deliberate disregard for the victim’ and ‘led to Tyler Peck’s death.’
He said she sought to blame two 15 year olds for what had happened and made ‘quite gratuitous’ allegations against her ex husband and his new partner, and Tyler’s friend suffered the most ‘dreadful experience’ of finding him dead.
Defence barrister Piers Norsworthy said: ‘It is a tragic case on any level.’
Strawbridge (pictured in 2014) previously denied two charges of cruelty towards two boys. Her claims that the boys had made up stories and Tyler’s father offered them money to lie were condemned by the judge as ‘callous and unreasonable’
He said she was a ‘loving mother’ who was ‘struggling to cope’ with his behaviour and she maintained that she had not supplied any of the drugs that night and it was a conspiracy against her.
The mother has ‘lost everything’ and Tyler’s death is ‘something she will have to live with for the rest of her life’.
Tyler’s father Ryan Peck and stepmum Sam Kibbler said: ‘Tyler was funny, affectionate and caring. He was one of the lads, protective, loving and unique, and we miss him dearly.’
But Mr Peck is glad that justice has been served and can now find a way to move forward.
Detective Inspector Ian Ringrose, of Devon and Cornwall Police called Tyler’s death ‘tragic and avoidable’ as his mother should have protected him.
He said: ‘Strawbridge also put Tyler’s friend in grave danger that night and he is fortunate not to have suffered the same fate.’
Strawbridge’s own mother died suddenly during the trial and she was given bail by the judge so she could attend her funeral.
But last week she asked to be remanded in custody complaining about the pain she suffered from her medical condition fibromyalgia and asking to be sentenced via video link rather than being driven from Eastwood Park jail