Parents of murdered baby spent £200-a-week on drugs, report reveals

John Burrill
John Burrill

The parents of a baby girl murdered by her drug addict dad had a £200-a-week habit – but health professionals had no idea, a report has revealed.

A serious case review – which laid bare the chaotic lifestyle little Daisy-Mae Burrill was born into – said doctors, health visitors, and midwives were all unaware of her parents’ cannabis use.

Daisy Mae Burrill

Daisy Mae Burrill

READ MORE: Life for dad who murdered baby daughter Daisy-Mae

And although it said John Burrill’s brutal attack on his eight-week-old daughter, in March 2016, could not have been predicted, it said more could now be done to highlight the dangers of using the illegal drug around children.

The Lancashire Safeguarding Children board report also found:

• Burrill, now 32, twice went to A&E after injuring his hand punching walls;

• Police twice raided the home he shared with partner Ashlee Cox – who faced no charges in connection with her daughter’s death – looking for drugs before Daisy-Mae was born but found nothing;

• The family’s rented home in Gordon Road, Fleetwood, was riddled with damp, leaving Daisy-Mae and her parents all sharing a bedroom; and

• The couple were heavily in debt, often going hungry at a result, because of their drug habit.

Burrill was jailed for life in October after being found guilty of murder. He has never admitted how he inflicted her fatal injuries, but his trial was told he lost his temper when she would not go to sleep.

READ MORE: GUILTY: Fleetwood man murdered his baby girl

Preston Crown Court heard he swung the tot by her legs against a hard surface, cracking her skull and causing her heart to stop.

Both parents were interviewed for the report, and claimed they ‘always prioritised’ Daisy-Mae’s needs before spending money on cannabis, a class B drug.

Burrill said he had ‘never hit anyone’, while Ms Cox said she ‘had no concerns at any time’, he would hurt them, despite his furious outbursts.

Both said it was ‘unlikely’ they would have admitted to using drugs if asked but the report said it was a ‘challenge to understand’ how it went unnoticed.

“They used cannabis on a daily basis and would at time spend up to £200-a-week on cannabis,” it added.

While it said Burrill had ‘higher usage’, the report added: “The impact of significant amounts of the family budget being spent on cannabis affected them both.

“[Burrill] said he worked for very long hours and both he and [Ms Cox] had lost significant amounts of weight as they often went without food.”

In a victim impact statement read before the court last year, Ms Cox said: “I have lost everything that was my life. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly since this happened.”