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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 20:27 GMT
Salt poison case mother convicted
Petrina Stocker
Petrina Stocker poisoned her nine-year-old son, David, with salt
A mother has been convicted of killing her seriously ill nine-year-old son by putting salt in his hospital drip feed.

Petrina Stocker, 42, of Romford, Essex, denied manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

David Stocker died in Great Ormond Street Hospital in August 2001 from an overdose of salt which the prosecution alleged was put into his drip feed.

A jury found Stocker guilty of manslaughter on Thursday. She was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on Friday.

The court heard David was ill for months but doctors were unable to make him better because his mother was misleading them.

Food containers spiked

Nicholas Hilliard, prosecuting, said the 13 teaspoons of salt poured into a milk drip feed was the last in a series of acts by Stocker.

Stocker had spiked two feed containers with around 18 teaspoons and the boy collapsed after the first one was given to him.
The episode of salt poisoning was the last in a series of acts done in an attempt to fabricate aspects of David's illness
Nicholas Hilliard

David, who had been a healthy karate champion, was in and out of hospital for five months and had turned into little more than skin and bones.

Mr Hilliard said David had been treated since February 2001 in Great Ormond Street Hospital and in Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, Essex, with his mother keeping a bedside vigil.

But doctors could not find what was wrong with him because of the various symptoms he displayed, such as loss of appetite and lethargy.

He said Stocker had put blood into urine samples and manufactured vomit samples, in addition to interfering with his intravenous drip.

'Misleading symptoms'

Mr Hilliard said: "The episode of salt poisoning was the last in a series of acts done in an attempt to fabricate aspects of David's illness and to produce manufactured or misleading symptoms."

Stocker struck days before David had been due to be moved to a psychiatric ward where access to his parents would be limited.

Staff at both hospitals had begun to suspect that his mother was interfering with his treatment.

But she threatened to discharge him from Oldchurch when it was suggested his bed be moved nearer the nurses' station there.

Dr Jeevan Rawal, the clinical director of Oldchurch Hospital, told the court that David was confined to a wheelchair within a month of becoming ill. His weight later went down to four stone.

A look at the background of the case


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