Drug addict who laughed as he allowed a three-year-old girl to smoke cigarettes sentenced to 18 months in jail
By Paul Sims
Last updated at 10:17 AM on 16th October 2009
Graeme Conroy was today jailed for 18 months after encouraging a three-year-old girl to smoke cigarettes
A man forced a girl of three to smoke a chain of cigarettes and then filmed her begging: 'Can I have another one?'
A court was shown a series of shocking images of Graeme Conroy handing the crying child cigarette after cigarette.
The 31-year-old was seen laughing and cracking jokes as his tiny victim repeatedly inhaled.
At one point, someone in the background is heard saying: 'She'll smoke it all herself.'
By the time Conroy had finished filming, the child had smoked five cigarettes.
Conroy was caught when a parent who was shown the footage called in the police. Last night, he was starting an 18-month prison sentence after admitting child neglect.
While there, he ordered another child, a girl of 14, to film the images on her mobile phone as a joke.
The distressing footage has not been released to protect the younger child's identity.
The 14-year-old told police that when she arrived at the house Conroy boasted of how the three-year-old had already smoked two cigarettes.
'He said "Watch this",' the girl said. 'She, like, had a tab. I was told to video it so I did.
'She had another one, then finished that one and said, "Can I have another one'.
'He said "aye". I stopped recording. He was like, it was dead funny.
'He said "Finish it" and she put it out in the ashtray. Then she said "Can I have another one". He said "you've had enough" and she started crying so he gave her one.
'She was inhaling it and everything. It looked like she had smoked before, she was inhaling and she knew what to do.'
The girl added: 'Graeme didn't tell her what to do, she just knew what to do.'
Conroy, a drug addict, even bragged he had given the girl cannabis, but tests on her hair ruled it out.
Further tests showed that although the girl's chest was clear, she suffered from wheezing, Newcastle Crown Court was told.
Judge David Wood said Conroy, of Ashington in Northumberland, had shown a complete disregard for the girl's safety.
'You evidently thought it would be funny if she was allowed to smoke cigarettes and you could take a video of what was going on,' he said.
'I expect you realise now this was not funny at all.
'This sort of conduct could be very damaging to a child's health and could have all sorts of effects on her future health. You have completely disregarded her safety and endangered her.'
Amanda Sandford, from Action on Smoking and Health, said: 'It beggars belief that an adult could do that to a child. This is a form of child abuse.
'The child would be at huge risk of being poisoned by the toxins in cigarettes and smoking so many at such an age could do irreparable damage.'
Detective Inspector Ron Cruikshanks, of Northumbria Police, said: 'This was an appalling case of neglect and ill treatment against a child who is little more than a baby.'