Tantobie mother tells jury she would not have tolerated abuse towards her son

The Northern Echo: DENIAL: Richard Morgan and Rachel Peacock DENIAL: Richard Morgan and Rachel Peacock

A MOTHER accused of allowing the death of a baby has said she would have left if her boyfriend had been violent towards her son.

Rachel Peacock, 31, said she would not have tolerated abuse from former partner Richard Morgan, who is accused of killing 13-month-old Slater Sharkey.

The tragic toddler was taken to hospital two years ago with severe injuries, which cost him his young life.

Giving evidence on trial at Newcastle Crown Court today (Friday, December 7), a tearful Miss Peacock said she would never have exposed Slater to the risk of violence.

She said: “I had a horrible childhood and I know what it is like. I would never put my child in that position.”

She returned home to find him limp and struggling to breath in the arms of 33-year-old Mr Morgan, a former Royal Navy recruit.

He said he had found Slater face down after returning from the toilet at the home they shared in Owen Terrace, Tantobie, near Stanley, County Durham.

The jury heard Miss Peacock had attempted suicide by taking overdoses of medication prescribed in the wake of Slater’s death at University Hospital of North Durham on December 11, 2010.

She said: “I went to pieces and tried topping myself a few times because I couldn’t live without Slater. He was my life.”

Slater was born following a programme of IVF and two unsuccessful pregnancies with a former boyfriend, Carl Sharkey.

Asked whether she herself was ever violent towards her son, Miss Peacock said: “Never. I tapped him on the hand or leg because he was at that age where you have to learn right from wrong.”

Asked whether she had ever shaken him or swung him around, she said: “No, Never.”

Miss Peacock denies causing or allowing the youngster's death, together with a further allegation of child cruelty and Mr Morgan, originally from South Wales, denies manslaughter.

Doctors believe the head injury that led to the brain damage, which killed him was ‘non-accidental’ and identified around 25 bruises on his body.

The trial continues.

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