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Don't let baby's awful injuries sway decision'

PUBLISHED: 12:59 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:56 25 August 2010

A JURY has been warned not to be swayed by the emotive nature of the abhorrent injuries which caused the death of a 21-month-old baby.

A JURY has been warned not to be swayed by the emotive nature of the 'abhorrent' injuries which caused the death of a 21-month-old baby.

Mother Collette Harris 30, of Chapel Close, Dartford, and her partner James Phillips, 25, of Dale View, Erith, are on trial for murder, manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of a child, at the Old Bailey.

Bobby Louch was found dead in his cot at the family home in Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath, on the morning of December 29, 2008.

He had suffered 40 injuries including internal bleeding and severe brain damage before his death.

Bobby was kicked, punched or stamped to the head and stomach and had bruises all over his body, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC, in his closing speech to the jury on Monday, said that one or both of the defendants must have been responsible for the injuries, describing the blow to the boy's stomach, which ruptured his liver, pancreas and intestine, as 'abhorrent'.

He said: "We do not invite you to convict either defendant because of the nature of the injuries inflicted on him.

"Likewise, you must not acquit either defendant out of sympathy. What is vital is an impartial trial on the evidence."

The court heard that Harris and Phillips could be convicted of manslaughter if the jury found they acted in a 'fit of pique' and did not intend to cause really serious harm.

Mr Whittam added: "If you cannot be sure who inflicted the fatal injuries you must not convict either of murder or manslaughter."

But, he suggested that even if that was the case, both must have realised that Bobby was at risk of serious harm.

They should then be convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child, the court heard.

Bobby had suffered a broken leg three weeks before his death and was taken to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.

Following a child protection examination, it was decided the injury was accidental and he was discharged on December 10, 2008.

Bobby was still wearing the cast on his leg when he died.

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