Kent

Eli Cox death: Baby 'exposed to cocaine'

Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd at Maidstone Crown Court Image copyright PA
Image caption Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd deny causing or allowing the death of a child

A five-month-old baby who died from a "catastrophic" injury had 28 fractures and had been exposed to amphetamine and cocaine, a court has heard.

Eli Cox's mother and her boyfriend are accused of causing or allowing his death in Kent last year.

Mother-of-nine Katherine Cox, 33, and Danny Shepherd, 25, deny all the charges at Maidstone Crown Court.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight said: "One of them did it and the other knew there was a risk."

The court heard Eli died in hospital on 27 April 2016, two weeks after his heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing at a property on the Isle of Sheppey.

His heartbeat was restored but he was not able to breathe unaided afterwards, the court was told.

'Lips turned blue'

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

Ms Knight said post-mortem tests found his death was caused by a head injury of a "shaking or shaking impact type" and that he had also "suffered skeletal injury on many different occasions leading up to his death".

She said the couple, who started dating in summer 2015 and moved in together that November, were "the only adult presence" in the house in Lapwing Close, Minster, where Eli collapsed.

"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."

She added: "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."

The court was told that during the ambulance ride, Mr Shepherd said Eli had been unwell for a couple of days and had vomited, after which his lips turned blue and he realised the baby was not breathing.

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

Hospital staff were told the couple had stayed with a friend and believed Eli caught a vomiting bug while there, jurors were told.

Later, Ms Cox told police she had called the ambulance after seeing Eli lifeless on the bed with "ooze coming out of his nose" and Mr Shepherd performing adult CPR on him, the court heard.

'Beating stick'

Mr Shepherd, who calls himself Pickle, later told police neither he nor Ms Cox had deliberately or accidentally injured Eli or lost their temper with him, the court was told.

Jurors heard there was a stick dubbed "Pickle's beating stick", but the court was told it was banged to get the dogs into the garden and not used as a weapon.

Post-mortem examinations showed Eli had oxygen deprivation to his brain, bleeding around his optic nerves and a brain injury, the court heard.

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

A hair sample showed he had been "regularly exposed to amphetamine and occasionally exposed to cocaine", Ms Knight added.

Blood tests showed Mr Shepherd had possibly recreationally used amphetamine, and a hair sample showed Ms Cox had occasionally been exposed to amphetamine and cocaine.

Ms Cox and Mr Shepherd also deny causing or allowing physical harm to a child, and possessing Class B drugs.

The trial continues.

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