Mother 'took cocaine hours before crash that killed young daughter'

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A mother who crashed her car into a tree fatally injuring her toddler daughter had taken cocaine just hours before getting behind the wheel, a court heard.

Danielle Parsons was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving before her sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, West Midlands Police said.

Her two-year-old little girl Esmee O'Reilly, who was on the car's back seat, died in hospital after the crash in Gibbins Road in Selly Oak, Birmingham, last year.

Following what police described as a "complex" investigation, officers found out how the 23-year-old, of Castle Road, Weoley Castle, Birmingham had made the "grave mistake" of taking drugs before driving.

A family friend was also seriously injured, but has since recovered.

Parsons was also told at her sentencing on Thursday that she would serve two years in jail after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving, to run concurrently.

She was also banned from driving for five-and-a-half years.

Sergeant Steve Newbury, from the force's collision investigation unit, said: "Parsons made the grave mistake of using cocaine that day and then put her family and friends in danger by driving under its influence with them as passengers.

"Her young daughter suffered the ultimate consequence of that decision and lost her life and she will have to live with the knowledge that she caused her death.

"This is the most graphic example that drug driving can kill and change people's lives forever."

He added: "I would like to thank the hard work and determination of the collision investigation team to get to the truth and establish all the evidence which has led to this successful prosecution and the dedicated work of the family liaison team in their support of the family.

"Our thoughts remain with them as they continue to come to terms with their loss."

Speaking at the time of the crash, the little girl's uncle, Brendan O'Reilly, paid tribute to his "happy-go-lucky" niece.

He said: "She was always smiling, and never stopped smiling - she was a happy-go-lucky little girl."

Mr O'Reilly said he last saw his niece the night before the fatal crash on April 30, when she was her usual happy self.

"She had beautiful blue eyes," he added.

Following the crash, members of the public including a medical student tried tirelessly to resuscitate the little girl at the roadside, but all in vain.