A 17-month-old baby boy was murdered by his mother and her boyfriend despite being on a council "at risk" register and having already suffered a catalogue of injuries including eight fractured ribs and a broken back that left him paralyzed, a British court heard Tuesday.
The child, who along with the two adults cannot be named for legal reasons, was subjected to "a course of assaults of increasing violence" over many months at his home in North London even though he was being monitored by experts, the Old Bailey was told.
He was examined many times by doctors and was seen by a health visitor, social workers and was put on the Haringey Child Protection Register under the category of neglect and physical abuse for nine months, a jury was told.
Despite this he received numerous injuries — computer-generated images of which were shown to jurors to protect them from having to see the real thing.
Parts of the boy's fingernails and fingertips were missing, his head was covered in ulcerated sores and the skin between his upper lip and gum had been torn which, the court heard, was "highly suggestive of non-accidental injury, usually by forcing the teat of a bottle into a child's mouth or by a hard glancing blow across the mouth."
His fingernails, it was said, may have been deliberately removed.
His spine may have been broken when he was forced over the back of an adult’s knee or banister rail, jurors heard.
He also had many bruises to his face and body and was probably bitten on his scalp by a dog at the house. The baby was hit so hard on the night that he died in August last year that one of his teeth was found in his stomach.
The tot's 27-year-old mother, who has other children, her boyfriend, 32, and another man, Jason Owen, 36, all deny murder. The two men deny causing or allowing the death of a child, although the mother has admitted allowing the death of a child, but denies causing the death.
Sally O'Neill, QC, for the prosecution, told the seven men and five women of the jury: "Over the last seven or eight months of his short life (this child) was subjected to a course of assaults of increasing violence.
"The Crown's case against these defendants is that either they themselves inflicted this unlawful force on (the child) or that they participated in a joint enterprise to do so."
"The death of any child is tragic. The death of a child in these circumstances is likely to fill any reasonable person with revulsion."
The trial, expected to last up to eight weeks, continues.