A STUNNED doctor described a dead baby’s head injuries as the “worst I’ve ever seen” after a lodger allegedly smashed the 14-week-old against a wall, a court heard.
Surender Singh Mehrok, 24, is on trial for murder at High Court at Hamilton after the death of Richard Royal Orif Takahi Winiata Uddin in June 2016 in Tauranga, New Zealand.
The suspect has accepted responsibility for the death but has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Mehrok had been lodging in the house of baby Royal and his mother when he was left to look after him and other children while most of the adults in the house went to get pizza for dinner.
When the group returned to the Nineteenth Avenue home, Mehrok was in a bedroom with baby Royal, who had vomit on his face and wasn’t breathing.
He was rushed to the nearby Tauranga Hospital, where paediatrician Dr Vivienne Hobbs was urgently called in.
“This was the worst head injury I’ve even seen,” Dr Hobbs, who has practiced paediatrics since 2002, told the jury on Thursday.
“I would put this head injury as a 10 out of 10.”
“I believe he died at home and was dead on arrival in the hospital.”
The doctor added that when the baby arrived, the back of his head felt spongy, indicating fluid under the skin, and there was swelling.
His head was also flat leading Dr Hobbs to believe it would take more than one impact to cause the kind of injuries she saw.
The court also heard from a five-year-old witness, who was also left in the house, who claimed Mehrok hit the baby a number of times before throwing him on a bed.
This was the worst head injury I’ve even seen
The High Court jury was shown pre-recorded interviews with the five-year-old who was the only eyewitness in the room.
In the first interview, done the night after Royal died, the witness said he saw Mehrok hit the baby on the head and face a number of times.
“[Mehrok] threw him on the bed,” he said.
The boy said Mehrok was “grumpy” when he was hitting the baby, and “sad” after he stopped.
In another recorded interview, he said: “[Mehrok] threw baby on the bed and his head hit the wall.”
A tenant in the house at the time, Sukwinder Singh Rana, said baby Royal was crying for about 20 to 25 minutes before he died.
Singh Rana told Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery, QC, that he and Mehrok were looking after the four children in the lounge as the other adults had left.
He added that Mehrok went to the room where Royal had been crying before the baby stopped crying suddenly, then restart crying loudly, then stop suddenly again.
Singh Rana said: “Surender came out of the room, and he was saying [Royal] was puking.”
The adults soon returned and everyone began “panicking” as it became clear something terrible had happened.
The trial is set to last two weeks and Dr Hobbs is set to be cross-examined on Monday.
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