A woman and her boyfriend “poisoned” her 22-month-old daughter in an attempt to cover up a series of assaults. They did not seek help immediately and instead played video games as the toddler was dying, a U.K court heard Tuesday.
Prosecutors told Truro Crown Court that the child, Eve Leatherland, died in October 2016 and had injuries similar to a car crash including a fractured skull, broken ribs and a split liver. The child died at her home where she lived with her mother, Abigail Leatherland, and the woman’s boyfriend, Tom Curd, who allegedly did not seek help and instead played video games, watched TV and used Facebook.
Autopsy revealed a large amount of painkiller codeine in the child’s system. This drug was not meant for children below 12.
The couple was charged with “murder, manslaughter by gross negligence, and causing or allowing the death of a child.” They, however, denied the charges.
“Eve Leatherland was murdered in her own home. In the few days leading up to her death she was assaulted on at least two occasions, possibly several more, and in the course of those assaults she suffered a fractured skull, several fractured ribs, a split liver and numerous other injuries of varying severity. She suffered injuries described by medical experts as being the type of injuries most commonly associated with a road traffic crash,” senior lawyer Sean Brunton told the court, Mirror reported.
“Not only did she suffer a fractured skull and ribs on one occasion but it seems that when she was assaulted again the second assault was sufficiently similar to the first that it re-fractured her skull and re-fractured some of her ribs, tearing apart the young bones as they started to knit back together. But, ghastly as all that may sound this was not quite the end of it. Because despite these assaults on this young child, or perhaps because of them, more was to befall young Eve,” Brunton added.
“After these attacks she was then given medication. Not medication kindly given to alleviate her suffering. Not a tea spoon full of Calpol to take the edge off a nasty cold or a banged knee. But rather, she was given so much medication that she was killed by it. Whether she was given the medication over a few days to try to mask the effects of these various assaults and these terrible injuries upon her, or whether she was given one massive dose in the hours shortly before she died, we cannot precisely say,” he said.
Speaking about the adult painkiller that was administered, Brunton said, “Codeine is a strong adult painkiller and one which under no circumstances should ever be given to young children at all. But codeine was given to Eve in such a large quantity that it, possibly in combination with these terrible injuries she had suffered, killer her. Indeed the evidence would appear to be that the codeine alone, irrespective of the injuries would have been enough to kill her.”
The court also heard that the child might have died several hours before her mother dialed the emergency number. The trial was ongoing.