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BEXLEYHEATH: Baby death trial - Mother saw injuries but did not call doctor
4:34pm Thursday 29th April 2010 in News
A MUM accused of killing her 21-month-old son noticed his injuries the day before he died but did not call a doctor, the Old Bailey heard today (April 29).
Bobby Louch died at his home in Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath, on December 29, 2008.
He had multiple injuries including brain damage, spinal bleeding, a torn liver and a severed pancreas.
His mother Collette Harris claims that on the evening of December 27 she went to bed leaving her boyfriend James Phillips, also accused of murder, playing video games.
The next morning she woke up and found Bobby had been sick.
Harris told the court: “There were two sections of green biley sick on his mattress cover.”
She washed the child and noticed “three or four“ bruises on his body, a bump on his head and a scratch on his nose.
Harris said: “It was circular marks, which I've described before, like fingerprint marks on his ribcage.”
Asked by her barrister Nicholas Syfret how this made her feel, she said: “Curious.”
She called a friend who told her the injuries may have been caused by the children Bobby had been playing with the previous day.
Bobby was sick again later in the afternoon, Harris said, but she assumed it was due to a vomiting bug.
When Mr Syfret asked why she did not take her child to the hospital, Harris said: “I just didn't think he was that bad.”
She also said she was worried as Bobby had been to hospital three weeks earlier with a broken leg and the staff there had treated her with suspicion.
Later that day, Harris went for an interview for the role of barmaid at the Running Horses pub in Erith.
When she came back, Phillips told her that Bobby had burned his hand on the oven.
Harris claimed she put cream on the burn while Bobby played with an Elmo toy.
After they had supper, the boy was sick again, Harris said.
She said: “He was sat upright on the sofa and sick was coming out of his nose and his mouth.”
But by the evening, Harris said the boy seemed to be getting better and she put him to bed.
Later on that night she heard the boy “mumbling” and went to check on him, giving him a dummy.
Harris claimed that when she eventually fell asleep that night, Phillips was again downstairs, playing computer games.
She woke up the next morning to make a doctor's appointment for Bobby. When she went to check on him afterwards, she found him dead.
Harris was pressed by Phillips' barrister Maura McGowan about why she did not call a doctor the previous day when she saw the “toxic green” vomit.
Ms McGowan asked: “Did that not make you think there was something very, very wrong?”
Harris replied: “I did know there was something wrong. I didn't think it was very, very wrong.”
The barrister asked: “What stopped you seeking medical attention?”
“I don't know, I just didn't,” Harris replied.
Ms McGowan said: “I suggest it's because you knew how those injuries had happened.
“You had in fact caused them.”
Harris replied: “No, I did not cause the injuries.”
Phillips, aged 25, of Dale View, Erith, and Harris, aged 30, of Chapel Close, Crayford deny murder and an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.
The trial continues.