Dorset

Harry House murder trial: Accused 'attacked partner'

Harry House Image copyright Dorset Police
Image caption Paramedics tried to save Harry but he died in hospital in Dorchester

A man accused of murdering his partner's two-year-old son has told a court he "wouldn't harm a kid" despite attacking the child's mother.

Joseph Eke, 22, is accused of fatally attacking Harry House at the family home in Broadmayne, Dorset, on 26 May 2016 while Harry's mother was out.

He denies murder, wounding, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm.

The jury heard Mr Eke was a heroin addict and had attacked the mother for refusing to give him drugs money.

He is also accused of injuring the boy on two previous occasions.

'Daddy Joe Joe'

Giving evidence at his trial, Mr Eke said he and Harry's mother, Lauren O'Neill, had been in Weymouth about two months after Harry's death when he kicked and punched her.

He told Winchester Crown Court: "I was a heroin addict, a crack head, that was what my life revolved around. She wouldn't give me money to score heroin."

Mr Eke, of St Lawrence Road, Upwey, Weymouth, told the court he had enjoyed caring for Harry, who called him "Daddy Joe Joe".

Jurors previously heard that Miss O'Neill, 22, had gone to the local shop when Harry suffered his fatal injuries.

But Mr Eke told the court he had not had any contact with the boy during that time and had instead been sitting on the sofa talking to his mother on the phone and looking at the internet.

He said, when Miss O'Neill returned she asked him to check on Harry in his room.

He told the court: "He stood up, looked over at me and said, 'Joe Joe, I feel sick'.

'I didn't kill him'

"I said, 'What do you mean, sick?' He pointed at his tummy. I turned around, went downstairs and said to Lauren, 'Can you get a sick bowl' and we both went upstairs."

Mr Eke said he was concerned Harry was having a diabetic sugar low so gave him sugar and put water on his face.

He said when Miss O'Neill called for an ambulance, he told her not to, believing Harry had food poisoning.

He told the court he felt "panicky" and "didn't know what to do".

When asked whether he punched or kicked Harry, he replied: "I didn't kill him, I wouldn't kill him. I wouldn't harm a kid."

Jurors previously heard Harry died as a result of a blunt-force impact to the abdomen that split his pancreas in two.

A post-mortem examination also showed he had a "potentially fatal" fractured skull.

The trial continues.

Image caption Emergency services were called to the house in Main Street, Broadmayne, on 26 May last year

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