London

Nathan Allen killed toddler son Fletcher 'for crying'

A father accused of murdering his 14-month-old son has told a court he hit the child because he was "screaming and clinging to my arm".

Fletcher Allen died in an east London hospital in January from internal bleeding caused by an abdomen injury.

Nathan Allen, 27, of Erith Crescent, Romford, east London, said he hit him twice in the stomach, but immediately said "sorry Fletcher" and cuddled him.

He denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

'Sorry Fletcher'

The incident occurred when the child's mother, Danielle Hands, 19, had gone to visit her family, leaving the toddler with her partner.

Allen had been alone with the child for half-an-hour and the toddler was punched as he lay in his cot, the jury heard.

Allen told the court: "He was screaming and clinging to my arm.

"I shrugged him off my arm and he sort of fell on his bum and he was laying down and I just hit him. I hit him twice in the stomach.

"I didn't know what else to do. As soon as I'd done it I realised it was wrong and I said 'sorry Fletcher' and I picked him up and cuddled him. I'm so sorry for what I did to him.

"I just didn't know what to do, I was beside myself. I was frustrated with myself - my son was crying, I've never seen him cry like that."

He added: "Fletcher was so happy and for me to see him like that, I felt like I was doing something wrong."

The jury has to decide what Allen's intention was when he hit the toddler.

The trial continues.

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