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Woman tells court she wants to 'give justice' to toddler she is accused of killing

By Jamie Lopez & Dan Haygarth

A woman who admitted killing the baby boy she was planning to adopt told a court she wants to 'give my boy justice',

Laura Castle, 38, admitted the manslaughter of 13-month Leiland-James Corkill on the eve of her trial at Preston Crown Court. Leiland-James suffered injuries ‘consistent with an assault’ at the home of Laura Castle and Scott Castle, 35, in Barrow-in-Furness and died at Alder Hey Children 's Hospital on January 7, 2021.

She had admitted shaking Leiland-James and banging his head off the arm of a sofa, but on Wednesday (May 11), as her trial continued, she was accused of causing other injuries to the baby. She denies trying to kill him as she stands trial accused of murder, reports LancsLive.

READ MORE: Everything we know about Huyton murder investigation after mum found dead

Laura Castle and Scott Castle were prospective adoptive parents for Leiland-James and he had been living with them for less than five months when emergency services were called to their home in Barrow-in-Furness on January 6 last year. Laura Castle reported Leiland-James had fallen from a sofa while she was in the kitchen but medics at Alder Hey raised concerns the injuries did not match her account.

Leiland-James died at Alder Hey on January 7. Consultant pathologist Dr Alison Armour conducted the post mortem and was of the opinion that most of the injuries to the body, head and face were consistent with assault.

Laura Castle has since admitted manslaughter, but denies murder and child cruelty. Scott Castle has denied causing or allowing the death of Leiland-James and also child cruelty.

Laura Castle returned to Preston Crown Court on Wednesday, where she was accused of causing other injuries to the baby, including one inside his ear and a bruise at the back of his throat. She also faced questions about her willingness to smack children, which she accepted. She also faced accusations she had a drinking problem, which she denied.

Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, questioned whether the fatal injuries had really been sustained by a fall from the couch. He suggested to Laura Castle that it was not just a case of shaking.

He said: “I suggest you smashed the back of Leiland-James’ head with significant force against the arm-rest of the sofa or possibly a table?” Laura Castle replied: “No.”

Mr Brady went on: “What was so frustrating about this baby that caused you to act in this way?” The defendant said: “I was so tired and drained and overwhelmed. There was so much noise.”

Mr Brady said: “Why not simply walk away?” Laura Castle said: “I honestly think about that every second of every day and regret what I have done, and I have to pay the consequence for that. I accept that. What I’m trying to do is give my boy justice.”

Mr Brady said: “In what way are you going to give Leiland-James justice?” She replied: “That this is my fault.”

Mr Brady asked: “Are you continuing to lie now?” The defendant said: “No. I accept that my child has died because of me.”

Responding to a reminder of her own comment yesterday that she would convict herself of murder based on medical evidence which said the injuries were not consistent with a fall, she asked the jury to “please look at everything”.

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Dive Deeper:
Accused hurled insults at officers during arrest over PCSO’s death, court told
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The ACT's top judge acknowledged the nature of the footage on what she called "a distressing day".
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One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Ava White said she could 'batter' alleged killer before stabbing
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Get all your news in one place