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Mum denies beating baby son to death

PUBLISHED: 14:07 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:51 25 August 2010

Pic shows Collette Harris at the Old Bailey.

Trial of Collette Harris and James Phillips for murder. 

Mum and boyfriend accused of killing 21-month-old baby boy in Bexleyheath.

Trial to start today. 20.4.10

Pic shows Collette Harris at the Old Bailey. Trial of Collette Harris and James Phillips for murder. Mum and boyfriend accused of killing 21-month-old baby boy in Bexleyheath. Trial to start today. 20.4.10

A BABY boy was battered to death by his mother and her new boyfriend while still wearing a plaster cast on his broken leg, a court has heard.

A BABY boy was battered to death by his mother and her new boyfriend while still wearing a plaster cast on his broken leg, a court has heard.

Bobby Louch was just 21-months-old when he suffered "deliberate and repeated violence" at his home with mother Collette Harris, 30, and her boyfriend James Phillips, 25, in Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath.

His body was covered with bruises when paramedics responded to a 999 call by his mother, on December 29, 2008, jurors at the Old Bailey heard on Tuesday.

On arrival, Bobby appeared to have been dead for some time. A post-mortem revealed he had died of brain damage from punches and kicks to the head.

His liver, pancreas and intestine had also been ruptured by a single blow to the stomach. In total there were 40 injuries to his body.

A neighbour had heard the sound of a baby whimpering at about 2.30am on December 29, the court heard.

At 9.30am Harris rang 999 and told the operator: "My baby's dead, please, my baby. I just woke up, he's covered in bruises all over his face, please help."

Three weeks earlier, on December 9, 2008, Harris had called NHS Direct, saying her son was unable to stand up on his right leg.

But Harris became 'defensive' when questioned about the injuries and gave different accounts, it is claimed.

Harris told Bobby's father Dan Louch that he sustained the bruises to his face by banging his head on the cot.

Bobby was allowed to return home, but on December 16, Harris asked Bobby's father to take care of him for a week because she was feeling very tired, jurors were told.

The baby did not have any significant bruising when he returned home on December 27 but the next day a friend noticed he had a mark on his chest.

When asked why she did not take him to hospital, Harris replied: "How could I take him to hospital with bruises like that? They will think I'm beating him up."

Both parents claimed Bobby was an accident-prone baby and would often trip up and bump his head.

Harris later told Bobby's father, after his arrival at hospital: "I didn't do it."

She also told a friend: "I didn't hurt my baby. I should have left him with you when he was sick, this wouldn't have happened."

Harris, of Chapel Close, Dartford, and Phillips, of Dale View, Erith, both deny murder and causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial continues.

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