Mum of tragic Preston tot Aiden Cairns is given a chance by the courts after supermarket theft

A bereaved mother who stole a trolley full of food has been "put on trust" by a judge, after she vowed to continue tackling her drug addiction.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 1:27 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 2:31 pm
Magistrates' Court

Natasha Hough, 30, lost her son, Aiden Cairns, in 2014.

Her defence solicitor said it was the "catalyst" for her life spiralling out of control.

The 13-month-old was pronounced dead on March 23, 2014, after emergency services were called to a flat in Preston city centre.

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At the time Hough's former partner was charged with murder and neglect after a post mortem revealed the cause of death was asphyxiation - but two years later in 2016 he was cleared after a judge ruled there was no evidence to suggest he deliberately or accidentally injured the tot.

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Prosecuting, Tracy Yates said on May 2, at 2.20pm, she was seen filling her trolley full of £105 food at Sainsbury's in Preston.

She added: " She was stopped outside and all item recovered. In a subsequent interview she said she is struggling for money and took the items for herself.

Defending, Steve Scott said: "Her offending escalated in 2014 and 2015. The catalyst which began her problems was the death of her small baby in what appeared to be suspicious circumstances.

"The death of her baby had a devastating effect on her and her life spiralled into a decline. She began using drugs. She was homeless for periods of time.

"Her lifestyle has deteriorated over the years.

"When sentenced in February she was in a dreadful state and the prison sentence has been the only thing that has made an impact on her life.

"She was prescribed methadone and says she isn't using any street drugs. She is managing on that prescription and she most certainly looks a lot better.

"But when released on March 14 she was given a discharge grant of £47. She signed on for benefits but hasn't received anything yet.

"The theft was committed not for drugs but for food."

Imposing a six month conditional discharge, District Judge Alexandra Simmonds said: " I'll put you on trust.

"You're apparently a lot better, but you haven't had your benefits. Hopefully they're going to come through soon.

"It's not because I condone what you did, but I understand that sometimes circumstances take over.

"Please don't let me down."