A mother accused of murdering her three-year-old toddler beat him with a cane and immersed him in scalding water before inflicting a fatal head injury, a court has been told.

Christina Robinson, 30, is accused of murdering her son Dwelaniyah at their home on Bracken Court in Ushaw Moor, County Durham on November 5, 2022.

She denies killing him and a second charge of child neglect.

A trial, expected to last four weeks, got underway at Newcastle Crown Court this lunchtime.

Opening the case prosecutor Richard Wright KC told the jury: “She beat him, she used a weapon upon him.

“She deliberately immersed him in scalding water.

“She sought no treatment for his injuries.

“She allowed him to suffer in pain over several weeks and then not once but twice she inflicted head injuries upon him by forcibly shaking him so hard she damaged his brain, and that injury in turn caused his heart to stop.”

He told the court emergency services were called by Christina, who was solely responsible for his care, at 4.09pm on the day in question saying Dwelaniyah wasn’t breathing.

“He’s not breathing at all, he was eating and his eyes went all weird and then…”, she told operators.

She said she had been doing CPR for five to ten minutes before ringing Dwelaniyah’s dad who told her to call for an ambulance.

When paramedics arrived within ten minutes, they found him in a nappy and his legs “heavily bandaged” with food around his face, the court was told.

He was blue-lit to hospital in Durham where he was pronounced dead at 5.22pm.

Robinson claimed her son had been eating a cheese bap when he had suddenly become limp and collapsed.

Mr Wright continued: “She said that he did not swallow his food well in general. […] The implication being that he might have chocked.

“Officers asked her why her son’s legs were covered in bandages. She told them that he had burned himself when messing about in the shower a few weeks earlier.

“She said that she had not taken him to hospital because the burns had caused him no problems and she was able to treat him at home.”

But the court heard the injuries were not consistent with the spray you’d expect from a shower and suggested he had been “deliberately immersed” in “scalding” water.

The prosecutor said the burns to his legs, buttocks and genitals covered about 15 to 20% of his body and would have left him in “excruciating pain”. He added that surgery would have been needed to treat them.

He added she “could not possibly take her son to hospital because she knew that questions would immediately be raised as to how on earth this little boy had sustained those terrible injuries”.

Jurors were told Robinson admitted hitting her son with a weapon - a bamboo cane stained with his blood and with traces of his body tissue attached which was found in their home – but said “she was allowed to do so because the Bible tells her that she should chastise her child.”

A post-mortem examination revealed he had been the victim of a series of assaults and had sustained a number of non-accidental injuries, the jury was told.

The prosecutor said: “Dwelaniyah died not from eating a cheese bap but because at the point of his terminal collapse, or very shortly before it occurred, he had sustained a major head injury.

“It was not an accidental head injury.

“It was one that had been quite deliberately inflicted upon him by the application of significant force.

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“There was damage seen in both his brain and in his eyes.

“Someone did this to him deliberately, and that person was, we say, the same person who sought no treatment for him and left him to suffer for weeks – his mother Christina Robinson.”

The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, continues this afternoon.