A FORMER seaman has told how he used emergency first aid training when trying to save the life of a baby he is accused of killing.

Richard Morgan, who served with the Royal Navy, said he did CPR learned in the forces on 13-month-old Slater Sharkey after finding him face down while in his care.

The 33-year-old former submariner told Newcastle Crown Court he left the baby, who had been unwell, playing with toys while he went to the toilet and found him face down when he returned.

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Mr Morgan, of Owen Terrace, Tantobie, near Stanley, County Durham, said: “I rushed over and picked him up carefully in my arms. I could see he was struggling for breath. I tipped his head back, nipped his nose and did three small breaths into his mouth.”

The court was told the boy’s mother, 31-year-old Rachel Peacock returned home to find her son lifeless in her new boyfriend’s arms.

Mr Morgan said: “I was proper flapping. I was at the front door with the baby in my arms, panicking.”

Mr Morgan drove to Shotley Bridge Hospital, before Slater was transferred to the University Hospital of North Durham in Durham City where he was pronounced dead and Mr Morgan was arrested on suspicion of murder.

He said: “My legs buckled beneath me and I had to be helped along from the hospital. I could not believe it. I was in bits.”

Mrs Morgan, originally from South Wales, denies manslaughter on December 11, 2010. Ms Peacock, who is estranged from Slater’s father, also of Owen Terrace, denies causing or allowing the youngster’s death together with a further allegation of child cruelty.

A post-mortem examination revealed Slater, whose body had about 25 bruises on it, had suffered brain damage and doctors believe the head injury which claimed his life was non-accidental.

Prosecutors claim the tragic infant was beaten or shaken to death by Mr Morgan, but he has said he did not even condone smacking his older two children.

He said: “I would not raise hand to harm that bairn at all. They are saying that I have done this, I definitely haven’t. I have not laid a finger on that child.”

The trial continues.