Couple go on trial after child was injected with ‘dangerous’ amounts of insulin
A Saudi Arabian couple have gone on trial accused of cruelty towards a child who was allegedly injected with “dangerous” amounts of insulin.
Amal Asiri, 29, and her husband Mohammed Asiri, 38, of Kensington, south-west London, chose not to attend their trial in Court One of the Old Bailey (pictured) on Monday, jurors were told.
Opening the case, prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC told how a young child was admitted to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London on February 13 last year having arrived from Saudi Arabia in a private air ambulance.
Over the next four weeks, the child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was repeatedly injected with insulin despite not needing it, jurors were told.
The effect was to reduce the child’s blood sugar “to dangerous levels”, Mrs Whitehouse told jurors.
The child allegedly suffered repeated incidents of hypoglycaemia, where blood sugar levels became abnormally low.
The prosecutor told jurors that it was “significant” that different nurses were on duty at the time of the incidents so it was “not a case where a rogue nurse was harming a patient”.
Amal Asiri would allegedly “pester” the staff to check the child’s blood sugar levels even when physical symptoms were not immediately displayed.
And when the defendants were prevented from attending the hospital, the attacks stopped, jurors were told.
Amal Asiri was allegedly responsible for administering the insulin, which is used to treat diabetes.
But both defendants had access to insulin, knew how and when to use it and what its effects were, the court heard.
Mrs Whitehouse told jurors symptoms of low blood sugar levels included dizziness and weakness.
She said: “If left untreated, the person may become unconscious and suffer fits. If really prolonged and severe, then permanent brain damage or death can occur.”
The court heard how a doctor became concerned at the child’s erratic blood sugar levels and sent samples to the hospital laboratory for testing.
The results revealed high levels of insulin but were unable to confirm whether it was naturally occurring or artificially administered.
The samples were sent on to the Royal Hospital in Guildford for specialist tests, the court heard.
Meanwhile, on March 4 2018, an intravenous tube giving a constant supply of glucose was found disconnected but the child’s blood sugar levels had not plummeted, jurors heard.
The next day, the defendants were told of the hospital’s suspicion that the hypoglycaemic attacks were caused by insulin, the court heard.
On March 9, the Guildford lab found the samples were consistent with artificial insulin and medics reported their concerns to police and social services.
In a search of the child’s hospital cubicle, insulin pens were found in a bag, jurors were told.
More boxes of insulin pens were allegedly recovered during a search of the defendants’ London flat.
The defendants were interviewed by police on March 10 last year, with the help of an interpreter.
Amal Asiri told officers she had married when she was aged 14 and lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where her husband worked in the military.
Both defendants denied giving the child any insulin.
Jurors were told that following their arrest, the child suffered no more hypoglycaemic incidents.
The defendants deny child cruelty between May 1 2017 and March 9 2018.
Amal Asiri also denies administering a poison or noxious substance to the child between the same dates.
Judge Mark Lucraft QC told jurors the couple had told their lawyers what their case was and they would be represented during the trial.
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