Trial of mother accused of murdering her baby continues

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The partner of a woman who is accused of murdering their baby son told a court that after the death he received text messages from her saying, “What I did to James will always hurt me” and “I would do anything to get out of this nightmare”.

Hannah Turtle and baby

Former solider Ian Hughes said at the start of their relationship, his partner Hannah Turtle told him she had experienced mental health problems.

He has been speaking on the second day of her trial at Mold Crown Court today.

Ian told the jury he never had any concern about Turtle’s health or her ability to look after their son, James.

Gordon Cole, QC, said in May 2016 they had been to a GP who had described her as “tearful, anxious and with thoughts of self-harm”.

Ian she had not expressed thought of self-harm to him and he had no concerns about her.

Prosecuting barrister David Elias, QC, said on three separate occasions the defendant deliberately harmed her son by restricting his breathing.

On the first occasion, Ian told the court he was sitting at the computer in the bedroom with his back towards her when Turtle said James was not breathing.

Between this and the second occasion, Ian said he never had any concern about how Turtle was coping.

On the third occasion, he was in work.

Police turned up at his work place and told him James had stopped breathing.

Ian said he kept Turtle’s medication in a locked drawer because she could overdose on them.

But said that she had not gone to the doctor because she felt like killing herself.

And throughout her pregnancy, he said he had no concerns about her killing or hurting herself.

Ian said she had never mentioned hearing voices in her head.

He said Turtle had mentioned to him that she had cut herself in the past but he said he did not notice scars on her arms.

They had split up for two weeks before James was born, the court heard.

Mold crown court

Ian’s mother Kathleen told the jury at Mold Crown Court she thought of Turtle ‘as another daughter’.

On June 8 Mrs Hughes said she went downstairs for a drink, made up some bottles for James and told Hannah if she needed anything she was in her bedroom.

Hannah came in to see if she was alright, which was unusual. She normally just shouted “are you ok?” from her bedroom. She sat for a couple of minutes, and she suggested she would bring James in and watch Coronation Street together. Hannah said she was going to the toilet and the next thing she heard her shout “Kath, Kath, it has happened again.”

Mrs Hughes said she jumped out of bed to see what was wrong. In the bedroom Hannah was standing on the bed with James in her arms.

She said “it has happened again” and seemed alright but upset a little bit.

Mrs Hughes picked James up off the bed, told Hannah to call an ambulance, and she said he was floppy. “He really, really grey and very floppy.”

She started resuscitation on him while the ambulance service were on the phone. When he got to hospital it was clear that James was in a very bad way, he was transferred from Chester to Alder Hay Hospital.

Turtle, 22, from Ryeland Street in Shotton, accepts that she stopped him breathing on three occasions within a ten day period in 2016.

It was the third episode which led to his death. Turtle says she did not intend to kill seven week old James or to cause him really serious harm.

She denies murder, three charges of ill-treatment and two of administering poison and the trial continues.

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