Kent

Eli Cox death: Injuries 'reveal specific, significant force'

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 baby had injuries of "specific, significant force" similar to whiplash, a specialist bone pathologist has said.

Eli Cox's injuries were "caused by pulling, twisting, grasping and crushing" Prof Anthony Freemont told Maidstone Crown Court .

His mother Katherine Cox, 33, and her partner Danny Shepherd, 25, deny causing his death in April last year.

The five-month-old had injuries dating back from when he was 10 weeks old to two weeks before his death.

When Jennifer Knight, prosecuting, asked Prof Freemont "how easily do ribs break?" he said Eli's 10 fractured ribs were in areas which would only break with "specific, significant force".

He added: "To grasp a child very firmly is the sort of force required. This is not the force you would generate during cuddling or boisterous play. Throwing a child into the air and catching them around the chest does not cause these types of injury."

Other fractures and bone injuries were found in the vertebrae of the neck and the small of the back.

Prof Freemont said they would have been caused by "bending" the neck back and forth, similar to whiplash, and "trying to bend the child in half".

Fractures to Eli's right femur, left tibia and right humerus were caused "by a twist, a pull or both", he added.

"My conclusion was that from the number, the sites, and the nature of the bones, that they could not be caused by accident, particularly in a child of this age."

During cross examination, Miss Radford QC, defending Danny Shepherd, questioned the professor about his method of calculating the date of the injuries.

The jury was told after a brain injury, bones heal at a slower rate, and as Eli had been in intensive care for two weeks prior to his death, he took this into account when calculating the dates.

The trial continues.

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