Mum denies responsibility for bruises on baby's body

6:13pm Monday 10th December 2012

By Gavin Havery

A MOTHER today (Monday, December 10) denied she was responsible for the marks on her baby son's body or lying to protect a former boyfriend.

Rachel Peacock, under cross examination by Robert Smith QC, said she would never do anything to harm, Slater Sharkey, who died two years ago tomorrow. (Tuesday December 11).

The 13-month-old was rushed to hospital after he stopped breathing while in the care of 33-year-old Richard Morgan at the house the couple shared in Owen Terrace, Tantobie, Stanley, County Durham.

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His body bore 25 bruises and doctors believe the brain injury that killed him was inflicted deliberately.

Mr Smith, representing Mr Morgan, who denies a charge of manslaughter, said Miss Peacock was not being truthful about how Slater came to have the marks on his body.

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

Miss Peacock, 31, told Newcastle Crown Court: “He bruised easily. He got them crawling around and falling over.

“I would never touch a hair on that bairn’s head.”

She has pleaded not guilty to causing or allowing the youngster's death, together with a further allegation of child cruelty.

Social services and the police were called by her GP after she failed to take Slater to hospital a month earlier when he had stopped breathing.

“I didn’t know he wanted me to take him there and then otherwise I would have done," she said. "I hold my hands up to that. I should have done.”

The jury has heard how she returned on December 11 after going to the shop for teabags to find Slater lifeless in the arms of Mr Morgan, a former Royal Navy submariner who is originally from South Wales.

The couple took him Shotley Bridge Hospital and he was transferred to the University Hospital of North Durham where he died.

Prosecutor Andrew Robertson QC said she knew Morgan, himself a father-of-two, had been violent towards Slater but ignored it because she was "besotted" with him.

Mr Robertson said: “You have dug a hole for yourself, do you understand?

“You have tried to protect him from the outset and now you cannot tell us the truth.”

The trial continues.


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