A MAN has been charged with killing a 13-month-old boy in a North-East village.

Police investigating the death of Slater Sharkey, of Owen Terrace, Tantobie, Stanley, County Durham, have also charged a woman with neglect and allowing his death.

The baby was unconscious when he was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham, in Durham City, at about 5.30pm on Saturday, December 11, last year.

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He died despite efforts to save him and detectives from Durham Police were called in to investigate his death.

A police spokesman said last night: “A 32-year-old man from Stanley has been charged with the manslaughter of a 13-monthold baby boy from Tantobie in December of last year.

“He has been bailed to appear before Consett magistrates on December 29.

“A 30-year-old woman from Stanley has been charged with neglect and allowing the death of a child.

“She has also been bailed to appear before Consett magistrates on the same day.”

The youngster lived with his mother in Owen Terrace, Tantobie.

The man was initially held on suspicion of murder but, a year after he was first arrested, police have confirmed he is now facing the less serious charge of manslaughter.

He has been on police bail since the inquiry was launched.

A post-mortem examination carried out at the time of the baby’s death proved inconclusive and the death was described as unexplained.

Further tests have been carried out but details of how the child met his death have not been disclosed.

An inquest into Slater’s death has been opened and adjourned by the County Durham coroner.

A full hearing will be carried out with the findings made public after the criminal proceedings have been completed.

The inquiry was opened and led by Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman.

Anyone with information that may help with the investigation is asked to call Durham Police on 0345-60-60- 365.