Leeds mum killed friend by injecting him with fatal insulin overdose 'for a laugh'

Carla Smith
Carla Smith

A mother-of-three gave her a friend a fatal overdose of insulin after injecting him with the hormone "for a laugh" during a night of alcohol and drug-taking.

Carla Smith, 30, was today jailed for 40 months after admitting the manslaughter of Jake Davenport by injecting him with her son's insulin pen as the two engaged in "horseplay" at her home.

Jake Davenport with his mum Shirley

Jake Davenport with his mum Shirley

Leeds Crown Court was told the pair were "intimate friends" and spent the night drinking and taking cocaine, despite Smith's three-year-old son being in the house at the time.

As the pair "larked around" in the early hours of November 15, 2015, at the property on Wyther Park Street, Armley, Mr Davenport, 24, was heard to say 'go on, dare you to stab me', the court was told.

Smith, now of Gildersome, injected the victim three times "as a joke", prompting him to say 'you stabbed me', and told him the injection would make his arm swell.

Daffyd Enoch QC, prosecuting, told the court: "It was done for a laugh, apparently, and with little or no thought for the consequences. Jake wouldn't have known the consequences and didn't seem bothered at the time."

The court was told Mr Davenport would have had no idea how much he had been injected with, but that it was a "massive overdose".

The pair went to sleep and when Smith couldn't rouse Mr Davenport at 5.30pm that day, she checked his sugar levels and saw they were low, before injecting him with sugar and water.

When that had no effect she called for an ambulance, but did not appear upset, the court was told.

Sentencing her today, Mr Justice Goss said: "It was a foolish and reckless act committed at a time when both you and your victim had taken alcohol and cocaine."

He said Mr Davenport "was effectively consenting in the sense that he was prepared to engage in horseplay" but was unaware of the dose and would not have known the consequences.

The court was Smith had the insulin pen to inject her 14-year-old son, who had Type 1 diabetes, but she had not been explicitly warned about the potential risk of its misuse.

The public gallery at Leeds Crown Court was filled with the family and friends of Mr Davenport, many wearing t-shirts with his face on and the words 'Justice for Jake'.

An emotional victim impact statement was read out on behalf of his mother, Shirley, where she told of the terrible effect the death had on his family and said it had "destroyed" her, physically and mentally.

The school cook said in a statement afterwards: "Jake wasn't just a son and a brother, he was our best friend, and I will never get over losing him.

"I still make his tea for him, expecting him to walk through the door and dream about him crying out for me, but I can't reach him. What happened to Jake has destroyed our family."

Richard Wright QC, mitigating, told the court the injection took place during 'play-fighting' and was "not an assault in the sense that the word is normally understood".

He said his client was "not a particularly sophisticated individual" and added: "This is not the case of someone who had been told, 'this is the likely consequence of misadministration'.."

The court was told Mr Davenport was "left for some time" in the flat before an ambulance was called, though the overdose would have had "catastrophic effects" in any case.

Mr Wright said: "She has always admitted her responsibility for the act, she has never tried to get away from that. She has never tried to blame the victim, she has always accepted it was her decision."

Detective Inspector Paul Savage, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said after the hearing: "Jake Davenport's death in such sudden and unexpected circumstances has left his family absolutely devastated.

"Carla Smith has admitted causing his death by injecting him with insulin and she will now time have to continue reflecting on the terrible consequences that her actions have had.

"Insulin is prescribed for people with diabetes and its use by non-diabetics can prove fatal, as it has in this tragic case.

"We hope it will serve as a stark reminder to others of the dangers of misusing substances that are available only for their required medical purpose."