Teenager murdered toddler while mum was on school run, court hears
A TEENAGER murdered his lover’s toddler while she was on the school run, and could have swung him by the ankle causing him to hit his head, a jury has been told.
Cameron Rose, aged 18, of Court Road in Eltham, is charged with the killing of three-year-old epileptic Rhys Lawrie and twice beating him while looking after him at the boy’s home in Columbus Square, Erith.
It is alleged Rose harmed the child on three of the only occasions he was left alone why Rhys, whose mum Sadie Henry he was seeing.
Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said the 10-year age gap between Miss Henry and Rose caused her to be secretive about the relationship and to lie to paramedics, the police and hospital staff about Rhys’ injuries.
The court heard that on December 14, 2010, a teacher at Shenstone School in Crayford noticed “deep purple” bruising to Rhys’ ears and cheeks which looked like his head had been “jammed between the bars of a cot or the bars of a stair gate”.
Later former Army medic Miss Henry told police Rose had been looking after Rhys on December 12, while she went to the shop and she came back to find bruises on Rhys’ face.
Miss Howes said: “The bruises looked to her like knuckle marks.”
The court heard Rose told her the injuries were accidental.
On January 17, Rhys sustained more injuries in Rose’s care, the court heard, which Rose again claimed were an accident where he accidently elbowed him in his sleep and then Rhys fell off a counter while Rose was getting an ice pack for his injuries.
Paramedics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital noted the right side of his head was swollen and reddened and he was “quiet and unresponsive”, the jury was told.
He was discharged and getting better by September 21, when he was again left alone with Rose while Miss Henry picked up her other son from school, the court heard.
When she returned, Rose told her Rhys had suffered a seizure, the jury was told.
Miss Henry found Rhys under the bed clothes.
Miss Howes said: “He looked blue in colour. She was later to tell the police she knew Rhys was dead after she saw him.”
She started CPR and dialled 999. Paramedics noticed he had severe injuries to his face and one noted his eye was so swollen he could not open it to check his eye.
Miss Henry told paramedics and a police inspector that Rhys had a seizure and at no stage mentioned he had been alone with Rose, the court heard.
Rhys was taken to Darent Valley Hospital but could not be revived.
Experts determined in post mortem examinations that Rhys did not die of a seizure or a small fall, which Rose later claimed, but of head injuries, the court heard.
Miss Howes said: “Rhys sustained extensive bruising to his face, ears, the trunk of his body and both legs, with further and severe bruising and swelling around his right eye.
“He also suffered a fracture to his right tibia and severe internal head injuries which were in fact the cause of his death.”
Pathologists also discovered significant head injuries which were a few days old, Miss Howes said.
A forensic expert found the injuries were “atypical for an accidental origin and was indicative of multiple blunt force impact or gripping to the facial area.”
Another said the broken leg was more likely to be caused by gripping or twisting, the court heard.
The prosecution said the expert evidence suggested Rhys “could have been swung by the right leg causing impact to the head or face”.
Miss Howes cast doubt over Rose’s claim the injuries were accidental. She said: “Look at the expert evidence. The injuries, according to the experts, simply are not consistent with his explanation. He simply could not have sustained these injuries this way.”
Rose denies murder and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The trial continues.