Mother pretended son was very ill

A "SADISTIC" mother has been jailed for subjecting her healthy son to "24-hour-a-day torture" by pretending he was severely ill in order to gain publicity and financial rewards.

Lisa Hayden-Johnson "revelled" in the national attention she achieved by claiming that her young son was sick – including meetings with royalty and then prime minister Tony Blair.

Hayden-Johnson, 35, from Brixham, Devon, amassed cash donations and charity gifts, including two cruises, and successfully lobbied for her son to receive a Child of Courage Award.

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At Exeter Crown Court yesterday, she was sentenced to three years and three months after previously admitting child cruelty and perverting the course of justice.

Opening the case, prosecutor Andrew Macfarlane said: "The defendant organised, orchestrated and ensured a regime of medical, physiological and psychological mistreatment, amounting to 24-hour-a-day torture that touched on every aspect of his young vulnerable life.

"As a result of her sadistic fabrication of non-existent symptoms, the defendant achieved much publicity and national attention."

Mr Macfarlane said Hayden-Johnson described her son "as the most ill child in Britain". The boy was taken into care in October 2007, the court heard.

Hayden-Johnson subjected him to a total of 325 medical encounters, Mr Macfarlane said.

she claimed her son suffered from diabetes, food allergies, cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis.

The child was subjected to a series of "physical intrusions and interventions", including blood tests, intravenous treatments and a gastrostomy. He was fed through a tube and confined to a wheelchair.