14/08/2014 16:47 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Parents Drugged Toddler Daughter Every Night So They Could Catch Up On Sleep

Mum and dad drugged toddler daughter so they could catch up on sleep

All parents of young children have at one time or another said they'd do ANYTHING to get their kids to sleep – so that they could have some much-needed slumber. But none of us actually mean it.

But a couple not only thought it – they acted on it. In fact, they astonishingly gave their toddler daughter sedative drugs so that they could get some shut-eye!

The mother, 41, and father, 40, regularly gave their two-year-old the liquid paracetamol Medised - intended for children more than twice her age - for a year and a half so she was less likely to wake in the night and disturb their sleep, a court heard.

Gloucester Crown Court was told the little girl also sometimes had the sedative Diazepam - used to treat severe anxiety and agitation. Now both parents have been given suspended prison sentences after they admitted child cruelty.

The court heard that the girl had to be fed through a nasal tube when she was born due to problems caused by her mother's use of Diazepam and the heroin substitute methadone while she was pregnant.

Instead of weaning their daughter off the tube, the couple, from Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, continued to use it routinely because it was easier for them.

Prosecutor Kannan Siva said they went on to give her Medised on a nightly basis between the ages of two and a three and a half so they could sleep, he added.

The little girl was taken into the care of an aunt in June 2011 after her 'plainly selfish' parents, who met in rehab, told a social worker what they had been doing.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC criticised the couple for their 'remarkably stupid' actions, and told them he would have jailed them were it not for the fact it would deprive their daughter of weekly supervised visits from her parents.

"Every parent of a young child will have undergone sleepless nights because the child is unsettled for one reason or another. You chose to adminster Medised, which was not intended for a child that age, and you chose to keep very quiet about it," he said.

"I see before me a wholly inadequate man who was rather struggling with this child and a mother who was more concerned with herself than her child."

The woman was sentenced to 18 months suspended for a period of two years, while the man was given a 12 month sentence suspended for the same period.