THE MUM of a seven-year-old boy who was found dead outside their home in freezing temperatures has denied manslaughter.
Laura Heath, 39, pleaded not guilty to gross negligence manslaughter and child cruelty over the death of Hakeem Hussain in Birmingham.
The youngster was discovered dead outside his great-uncle's terraced house – where he and his mum had been living – on one of the coldest nights of the year in November 2017.
Hakeem had suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the scene – with experts deeming his cause of death an asthma attack.
Heath – who appeared in Birmingham Crown Court via video link from HMP Peterborough – is accused of breaching her duty of care to her young son by "smoking heroin and crack cocaine".
The prosecution also claim she "failed to manage his asthma" via twice-daily medication.
The charge alleges she had failed "by exposing him to known asthma triggers; smoke, dust and low temperature, and impairing your own ability, by smoking heroin and crack cocaine, and failing to seek medical help when clear his asthma symptoms were not under control".
Heath denied gross negligence manslaughter and four counts of child cruelty.
The child cruelty allegations date to between either April 12 and August 23, 2017, or September 8 and November 26, 2017.
A date for her trial, which will take place before a High Court judge, was set for March 12, 2022.
Heath was remanded to appear back at the Birmingham court for a pre-trial hearing next year.
Hakeem was a Year 3 pupil at Nechells E-ACT Academy, just yards from where the schoolboy was found.
Headteacher Julie Wright said at the time: "Hakeem was a most beautiful little boy, a great friend to many staff and children with a wicked sense of humour and an infectious giggle.
"He was a warm and generous-hearted soul who was talented across many areas of the curriculum but especially so in music and the arts."
One neighbour said previously: "He was the sweetest little kid. Would always be full of beans and would wave and say hello. Just a lovely little soul."
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