‘I tried to save her. She was not breathing’

Sophie Jones
Sophie Jones
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The father of tragic toddler Sophie Jones has told a trial how he tried to save his stricken daughter before going “numb”.

Taking the stand at Preston Crown Court, Barry Jones, 41, said he noticed his two-year-old daughter was pale and her lips were drained of colour at their home on Jameson Street, Blackpool in March this year.

He told the court how he put a hand on her chest to see if he could feel a heartbeat and put an ear to her nose and mouth.

She was not breathing and he rang for an ambulance..

He lifted his daughter off the couch and laid her on the floor. He tried to give her CPR.

He told the court: “She wasn’t breathing.

“I couldn’t save her.

“I tried to save her and I couldn’t.

“When the ambulance men came in they scooped her up and ran out of the house.”

At that stage he “went numb”.

She died after being poisoned by drinking methadone that had been prescribed to her mum.

Jones, 41, added “She was my little girl.

“I am devastated. She was beautiful.

“I tried to turn my life around.

“I succeeded, then that failed again. It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying.

“I can’t put into words how it makes me feel, just devastated.”

He denies manslaughter by gross negligence, as well an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a child and child neglect.

His partner Michelle King, Sophie’s mother, has admitted manslaughter.

A heroin user for about 20 years, he said he had not realised that smoking heroin in the bathroom might expose his child to drugs, even though she was in another part of the house.

On the day that Sophie was later rushed to hospital, his mum had called round to the family home.

He became aware while she was there that Sophie had had two falls, but he did not see those happen.

He had checked her over afterwards, but she seemed to be her usual self, he said.

His mother suggested taking her to a walk-in centre, but he went on to decide that she looked alright.

He then sat with Sophie, who fell asleep on the couch, the court heard.

After the ambulance crews had taken Sophie to hospital, he went to the end of the street trying to get a signal on his phone.

It was then he got the news that Sophie could not be resuscitated.

He said that Michelle King had been screaming, shouting and crying on the phone from the hospital.

He had not heard her say anything like “it’s in the back yard”.

Jones also said that he had got one text message which he claims he accidentally deleted.

After Sophie had died the only thing he could think of was that she had possibly drunk some cider, even though he thought she hadn’t.

Jones said he had not hidden the Tom and Jerry beaker - later found to contain methadone - in the back yard.

Neither had he moved the child’s drinking cup that night, he insisted

His QC, Stuart Denney, put it to him: “The prosecution has suggested a clean up operation was mounted, they say by you and Michelle.

“Did you take part in any clean up operation?”

Jones replied “No”.

Mr Denney then asked “Do you know how the beaker got into the back yard?”

The defendant answered: “No, I can only presume how it’s got there.”

He had expected the methadone to be kept on a top shelf.

Jones told the court he had told Michelle King several times not to keep methadone inside inappropriate containers.

He said he had not thought that he himself was exposing his daughter to the risk of drugs getting into her body or hair.

(Proceeding)