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THE mum of a seven-year-old boy who was found dead outside the family home in freezing temperatures has appeared in the dock.
Laura Heath, 39, has denied gross negligence manslaughter and child cruelty over the death of little Hakeem Hussain.
The schoolboy was found unresponsive outside his great-uncle's terraced house in Birmingham – where he and his mum had been living – on one of the coldest nights of the year.
Medics found he'd suffered a cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at the scene in November 2017.
A post-mortem gave his cause of death as 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".
Prosecutors 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 has denied gross negligence manslaughter and four counts of child cruelty on dates between April 12 and November 26 2017.
SCHOOLBOY'S TRAGIC DEATH
She wore a grey Nike hoodie and had her hair in a ponytail during the 20-minute hearing today.
A date for her trial, which will take place before a High Court judge and is expected to take six weeks, has been set for March 14 this year.
Hakeem was a Year 3 pupil at Nechells E-ACT Academy. The school stands just yards from where his body 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.
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"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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