A WOMAN admitted she slapped the baby son she was hoping to adopt as he lay dying on life support after she battered him, a court heard.
Leiland-James Corkhill was placed under the care of Laura Castle, 38, and her husband Scott Castle, 35, just five months before he died.
Leiland-James Corkhill suffered catastrophic injuriesCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Laura and Scott Castle are on trial over his deathCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The 12-month-old suffered catastrophic head injuries at their home in Barrow-in-Furness including a bleed on the brain, it is said.
Laura is on trial accused of murder while Scott is charged with causing or allowing the death of a child and child cruelty.
Jurors were told Laura has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but does not accept she intended to cause him really serious harm or kill him.
Preston Crown Court heard how Laura admitted she had “previously slapped or tapped” Leiland-James while he lay stricken on life support.
She made the admission to social worker Penny Hindle, who called her to say medics didn’t agree with her account the baby had fallen from a sofa, it was said.
Ms Hindle told jurors: “I was really shocked that given the emphasis on not hurting, assaulting, smacking, disciplining children in a physical way, that she was saying that was what she had been doing.
“Leiland-James was only a baby. He had just had his first birthday.
“I was really shocked that she had used force.”
Jurors heard how the baby was a “looked-after child” who was taken into care at birth before he was approved to live with the Castles.
The move in August 2020 had been approved by Cumbria Children’s Services Department.
In November that year, a social worker reported concerns Laura did not love Leiland-James after she called him “lazy” and “big”.
A review took place the next month and the couple were told officials would not support an application for a permanent adoption unless further therapeutic work was undertaken.
The court heard the Castles wanted to plough ahead regardless as Laura’s family loved the boy.
Ms Hindle added: “My reaction was that in itself is not a good enough reason to adopt a child.
“I was not convinced the adoption would hold.”
A care planning meeting was recommended for the next year.
But in January 2021, Laura called 999 and claimed Leiland-James had fallen from a sofa and injured his head, it was said.
Jurors were told he was rushed to hospital in cardiac arrest but sadly never regained consciousness and was declared dead the next day.
Medics at Alder Hey later raised concerns the injuries were not consistent with the account given by Laura.
The couple were arrested and their texts discovered when officers seized their mobile phones, the court heard.
Jurors heard how Laura referred to the baby as a “proper n*bhead”, a “d**k” and a s**t bag” and admitted to “smacking” the child the messages.
In one text she wrote: “I honestly really don’t like him lately, hes an absolute moaning winge bag and I totally regret doin this [sic].
“I’m goin to lose my mind. He just p****s me off all the time, can never just have a nice day or night ever.
“Although I need to stop smacking him cos if I start I’ll not stop at one point and it’s not getting us anywhere and then I feel bad.”
She then messaged the next day: I’ve just absolutely leathered him, I can(‘t) take this anymore, he’s gonna have to go.”
Aerospace night shift worker Scott replied: “Right OK baby. He’s really ruined it. At least we have tried.”
The dad also branded the tot “a fat s**t”, “a n*b head” and “a toss bag”.
On September 25, Laura messaged her husband saying she had “leathered” Leiland-James again as she was at her “wits end”.
She added: “I’m just an abusive parent so it seems.”
Her husband responded: “You’re not an abusive parent, baby. Not at all. Don’t say that. I think he’s a little too f****d up for us to handle.
“Let’s just call it quits. I don’t want you to have a mental break down. You’re more important to me than him.”
The trial continues.
Leiland-James had been placed in the couple’s care in August 2020Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The youngster had been rushed to hospital with a bleed on the brainCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Messages between the couple were read to jurorsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd