Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 16:41 UK

Mother guilty over heroin death

Gemma Evans (right) and Andrea Townsend
Andrea Townsend and Gemma Evans denied the charge against them

The mother of a teenager who died of a heroin overdose has been found guilty at Swansea Crown Court of her manslaughter through gross negligence.

Andrea Townsend, 46, put Carly Townsend, 16, to bed at their home instead of calling an ambulance and watched Emmerdale on TV.

Townsend, of Pwll, Llanelli, had said she believed she would "sleep it off".

The jury is still considering a verdict on a similar charge against Carly's half-sister Gemma Evans, 25.

Jurors have been sent home for the night and will continue their deliberations on Friday.

Townsend will be sentenced at a later date.

During the two-week trial the jury heard that on 2 May last year Carly had bought three bags of heroin.

The jury found Townsend guilty unanimously

Townsend - and it is alleged Ms Evans too - knew she had taken the drug and in the early evening she was showing signs of an overdose as her lips had turned blue and she was drifting in and out of consciousness.

The prosecution's case is that her half-sister had helped Carly buy the drugs and she and her mother "took a risk" with her life by not seeking medical help.

The jury has been told that that Townsend and Ms Evans feared they and Carly would get into trouble.

Prosecutor Paul Thomas said they owned Carly a duty of care and their actions amounted to gross negligence.

The defence case was that the pair did not believe Carly was in danger and that she would "sleep off" the effects of the class A drug.

Heroin substitute

Townsend told the jury Carly had been hospitalised twice for heroin overdoses before she died and she had seen her daughter in far worse states than the one she was in on the night she died.

Townsend also told the court that "about 20" of her friends had died through drugs, including her husband, who was Carly's father.

She said her husband had overdosed on the heroin substitute Palfium, while Carly's half-sister had once collapsed after taking heroin and had to be saved by paramedics.

Ms Evans had declined to enter the witness box to give evidence on her own behalf.

The court was told that Carly was released from a secure unit in Neath 10 days before her death, and her mother said she did not tell anyone in authority her daughter had taken heroin because she could have been returned to custody.

Drugs 'killed woman's 20 friends'
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