Lancashire

Lucas Irvine death: Mother denies harming baby boy

A mother has denied harming her four-month-old son who is said to have died from "deliberate and violent shaking".

Lucas Irvine died in hospital on 21 November 2010, four days after an incident at his home in Lancaster.

Karen Irvine, 19, told Preston Crown Court she was "completely unaware" of what had happened to the baby.

She told the court that her partner, Christopher Roberts, was responsible. Both deny murder, manslaughter and allowing the death of a child.

Dennis Watson QC said both defendants had "continuously lied" and changed their stories about what had happened to the baby at their home.

He said: "One of them has clearly shaken Lucas, of that there is no doubt. They were the only two who were present in the house."

A post-mortem examination revealed that Lucas died from "non-accidental head and spinal injury" and that his brain was "massively swollen" which was consistent with "deliberate and violent shaking".

Alarm raised

He was taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary before he was transferred to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool where he died.

Ms Irvine denied she had attempted any cover-up, saying she went into "shock" when she saw Mr Roberts, also 19, holding a pale-looking, "floppy" Lucas in his arms on the bedroom landing.

"He said to me he thinks Lucas is dead," she said.

Her counsel, Shaun Smith QC, asked her: "Had you done anything to Lucas to put him in that state?"

"No," she replied.

She then said everything became a "blur" as Mr Roberts, of Garth Lane, Knighton in Powys, tried to resuscitate the baby, who was not his son, as the alarm was raised.

She told the court it was "the worst feeling ever" when she was told by the hospital that her son might die, describing how he was was Christened shortly before she gave permission for his life support machine to be switched off.

Mr Watson, cross-examining, asked Ms Irvine: "Do you accept that Lucas died because someone shook him?"

"Yes," she said.

"This is not a case where someone has crept in off the street," Mr Watson continued.

"The only two people in the house that could have done it that night was you and Mr Roberts. Who did it?"

"Christopher," she said.

Choked when feeding

She said at the time she was "completely unaware" of what had happened because she was downstairs and out of the bedroom.

She accepted she had not given that account to the authorities at the time but said she was not thinking straight.

Mr Watson told the jury she had given a similar explanation as to what her co-defendant had said in his 999 call - that Lucas had choked when feeding and stopped breathing.

"We suggest that you were both in the same room when Lucas was shaken.

"We suggest that you both told the same lie. You were both in this together."

She denied that was the case or that she was an "accomplished liar".

The jury heard that Mr Roberts will say that it was he who was out of the room when the baby became seriously ill.

The trial continues.

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