Baby 'suffered catastrophic injury at hands of mother or her boyfriend' on the Isle of Sheppey

A five-month-old baby died after suffering a "catastrophic" injury at the hands of his mother or her boyfriend, a jury has been told.

Eli Cox died in hospital on April 27 2016, two weeks after an incident at an address in Lapwing Close, Minster-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey.

Eli had previously been a well baby, but he collapsed, his heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing sometime after 5pm on April 13, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

His heartbeat was restored, but he was not able to breathe unaided.

Eli had suffered brain damage and two small round bruises were found at the back of his head.

Tests later showed he had suffered 28 bone fractures dating from different times and he had been exposed to amphetamine and cocaine.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight said that a post mortem found that death had been caused by a head injury with "shaking or shaking impact type" and that Eli "had also suffered skeletal injury on many different occasions leading up to his death".

Katherine Cox, 33 - who has nine children including Eli - and Danny Shepherd, 25, of Faversham, deny causing or allowing the death of a child between April 12 and 28 and causing or allowing physical harm to a child.

They also deny possessing the Class B drug amphetamine.

Ms Knight described Shepherd and Cox as "the only adult presence" in the house when the incident happened.

She said: "It was the action of one of them which resulted in the catastrophic injury Eli Cox suffered that day.

"It was the unhappy culmination of injuries Eli Cox had suffered over many weeks."

Ms Knight later said: "The Crown says that one of them did it and the other knew there was a risk of serious physical harm to Eli Cox and did nothing about it."

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Cox and Shepherd - who calls himself Pickle - moved in together in November 2015 after they started dating that summer.

A crowd of neighbours, some of whom tried to help, had gathered at the house by the time the ambulance arrived at 5.35pm.

Cox later told police she had called the ambulance after seeing Eli lifeless on the bed with "ooze coming out of his nose" and Shepherd was performing adult CPR on him.

The court was told that, during the ambulance ride, Shepherd said Eli had been unwell for a couple of days and had vomited and that he had taken him up to bed where he vomited again and his lips turned blue.

He blew into Eli's mouth and realised the baby was not breathing.

But two paramedics in the ambulance could not remember the smell of vomit or any signs of it on Eli, the jury heard.

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Hospital staff were told that the couple had stayed with a friend over the previous weekend and they believed that Eli might have caught a vomiting bug while they were there.

Police found five bags of white powder amphetamine drugs when they searched a shed in the couple's garden on April 14.

Post-mortem examinations showed Eli had oxygen deprivation to his brain, suggesting he had suffered a trauma, bleeding around his optic nerves and a brain injury.

The oldest oldest of his fractures was possibly from between seven to nine weeks before his death, the jury heard.

There was also a hair sample which showed he had been "regularly exposed to amphetamine and occasionally exposed to cocaine", Ms Knight added.

A blood test showed Shepherd had possibly recreationally used amphetamine on April 13.

A hair sample showed that Cox, in the six months to August 2016, had occasionally been exposed to amphetamine and cocaine.

Shepherd later told police that neither he nor Cox had deliberately or accidentally injured Eli or lost their temper with him.

The court was told there was a thin long wooden stick, which was dubbed "Pickle's beating stick".

The couple said it was banged to get the dogs into the garden and was not used as a weapon.

The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow at 10am.

PA


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