Tyne & Wear

Baby Slater Sharkey 'killed while mother was shopping'

A 13-month-old baby boy died of "catastrophic brain damage" at the hands of his mother's partner while she went shopping, a court heard.

Slater Sharkey had 25 bruises when he died in University Hospital of North Durham on 11 December 2011, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Richard Morgan, 32, of Tantobie, County Durham denies manslaughter.

Victoria Peacock, 31, of the same address denies causing or allowing the death of a child and child cruelty.

Prosecutors claim Morgan abused the youngster over the 18 hours prior to his death, while Ms Peacock is accused of turning a blind eye to the abuse to protect Morgan.

'No protection'

Andrew Robertson QC told jurors that Slater died of "catastrophic brain damage" at the hands of Morgan, who was looking after him while Peacock went to the local shops.

The baby was taken to hospital but the 13-month-old died hours later on 11 December 2011.

The youngster was found to have suffered multiple head wounds consistent with being beaten or struck against something, and had bruises on his legs which suggested he had been gripped tightly, Mr Robertson said.

A pathologist discovered he also had "extensive and severe" bleeding in his eyes and bleeding and swelling to the brain - a sign he was violently shaken, the court heard.

Mr Robertson said: "The fatal injury can only have occurred when the child was left alone with Richard Morgan. This wasn't a one-off assault."

"[Ms Peacock] must have known that her partner was physically abusing her own son. Yet she did nothing to protect him."

The trial, scheduled to last four weeks, continues.

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