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Leighton Buzzard Observer
Carol Birch and son Jay
Published: 15:22 Tuesday 01 April 2008 Updated: 11:18 Thursday 03 April 2008
By Court ReporterA LEIGHTON dad has hit out at the “tragic waste of a young life” after his ex-partner was jailed for four years for murdering their five-year-old son.
Depressed Carol Birch, 44, fed her son Jay Scotching the equivalent of ten tamazapam tablets in a drink then waited for him to die before she tried to overdose herself.
Jay, who lived with his mother in a semi detached home in Buxton, Derbyshire was dead when paramedics arrived at the house on the morning of August 2.
His mum was barely conscious when she was taken to hospital.
She was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was told of her son’s death four days later when she was “genuinely shocked” at the news, Nottingham crown court heard.
Birch had left the Milton Keynes house she shared with 44-year-old Stuart Scotching to start a new life in Buxton after her split from Jay’s father in 2003. She left no forwarding address.
“She told Stuart Scotching he was no longer allowed to see his son,” said prosecutor Nicholas Dean.
She was suffering from depression when she claimed Mr Scotching, from Leighton Buzzard, was “unbalanced and lacked self-control”, the court heard.
Mr Scotching started legal proceedings for access to his son, but no decision was made before Jay died.
Birch had been prescribed anti-depressants and was having suicidal thoughts on a regular basis in 2006. She was prescribed tamazapam [a benzodiazapine] to help her sleep last May.
By the July she looked at internet sites dealing with suicides, including overdoses of sedatives.
“Jay must have been given the equivalent of ten tamazapam,” Mr Dean said.
“It’s more probable Carol Birch disguised the drug in drink or asked him to take them, saying they were medicine or sweets.
“The evidence suggests Carol Birch waited until she knew Jay was dead before she herself took tamazapam.”
Birch pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility in February.
Sentencing her yesterday to four years in prison, Judge Michael Stokes QC said the greatest tragedy was that a lovely five-year-old boy had died.
“The evidence in my judgement is overwhelming to the effect that responsibility for what you did is diminished because your fears about Jay’s future were undoubtedly irrational in what you mistakenly believed the position to be.”
Tania Griffiths said in mitigation Birch could not remember what she did or what happened.
“This happened out of misguided love and not malice.”
After the hearing Stuart Scotching, Jay’s father, described his death as “a tragic waste of a young life.”
Mr Scotching said: “I wish I could have spent more time with my son. I had not seen him since he was two. I didn’t know where she had gone.
“All my request to have access to Jay were reasonable. I just asked to see him once a fortnight.
“No sentence the judge passes can bring Jay back. I am devastated by what happened.
“This week we are having a proper funeral for him, which gives everyone who knew him in his short life to pay their respects.”
*Jay’s funeral takes place at All Saints Church, Leighton, at 2pm on April 2. Jay liked 4×4 vehicles and his father has arranged for a convoy of them to follow the hearse.
The full article contains 555 words and appears in Leighton Buzzard Observer newspaper.