A SINGLE mum accused of attempting to murder her severely disabled son was often left to care for him 24 hours a day after she was let down by the level of nursing support, a court has heard.

Pembe Mehmetaliogullari is on trial at Brighton Crown Court and denies attempting to murder her son, Mustafa, known as Musti.

Mehmetaliogullari, 47, of Kerrison Mews, Lower Market Street, Hove, also denies a charge of giving the 10-year-old boy a noxious substance.

On May 17 the jury heard Mehmetaliogullari had previously moved to northern Cyprus where she married a local policeman and they adopted the boy after the couple were unable to have children. When at six-months-old the boy become unwell, the husband “didn’t want anything to do with the baby”, the jury was told.

The court heard that Mehmetaliogullari then brought Musti, who developed complex health issues, back to Britain on her own where she cared for him with the assistance of several nursing agencies, including Ideal Complex Care, a Brighton-based company.

However, Natalie Wilson, a nurse with the agency, told the court the company “couldn’t recruit nurses” and the defendant was often left to care for her son for up to 24 hours a day.

The court heard the boy, who weighed 28kg, needed regular checks every 20 minutes, and suffered from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and severe scoliosis. He also could not swallow food, had limited use of his limbs and could only communicate by opening or closing his eyes.

“She was exhausted,” Mrs Wilson told the jury.

The court also heard that in the weeks leading up to the boy’s death a respite care package at Chestnut Tree Hospice, designed to alleviate pressure on carers, had been cancelled “at the last minute”.

The Argus: The court has heard that Pembe Mehmetaligullari was 'exhausted' after caring for her son up to 24 hours a dayThe court has heard that Pembe Mehmetaligullari was 'exhausted' after caring for her son up to 24 hours a day

Lewis Power QC, defending, told the court that she was let down by the level of nursing care “not in a small way but a large way”.

The court heard that an ambulance was sent to the defendant’s home at Eastview Terrace, Sedlescombe, on September 27, 2018, after she made an emergency 999 call.

Danielle Akerman, a paramedic, told the court she arrived at the address shortly after 3am and medical staff decided the boy should be taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Brighton.

“[The defendant] put him on the stretcher and gave him a blanket and teddy bear,” she told the court.

The boy died at the hospital three days later.

A post-mortem later found there were traces of Citalopram, an anti-depressant, and Co-codamol in his body.

It is the prosecution’s case that Mehmetaliogullari administered the Citalopram to Musti at home and then gave him the Co-codamol while the boy was in hospital.

“These drugs should not have been given to him,” Miranda Moore QC, prosecuting, told the court.

She continued: “Helping someone to die is not an action that is permitted – even for a loving mother.”

The trial, before Mrs Justice Justine Thornton DBE QC, continues.