The neighbours of a woman accused of murdering her three-year-old heard "whimpering" in the weeks leading up to his death.

Christina Robinson is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court accused of neglecting and murdering her toddler Dwelaniyah at their home on Bracken Court in Ushaw Moor, County Durham on November 5, 2022. 

On Thursday morning (February 29) the court heard from neighbour Alan Hirst that whimpering was audible from the neighbouring property in the weeks leading up to the toddler's death.

Jurors were told how he had never seen the children outside in the garden.

Prosecutor Richard Wright KC asked Mr Hirst if he heard much from his next door neighbours.

The neighbour replied that usually the family next door were quiet but in the weeks before November 5 he had heard distressing noises.

Mr Hirst said: "All I can describe it as was a whimpering in the night.

"I assumed it was a dummy that had come out. It was a whimper of a child that needed something."

When the prosecutor asked how long this went on for Mr Hirst said: "During the two weeks prior, it was every night.

"My wife said she could hear it quite regularly at night too."

Mitigating, Jamie Hill KC asked Mr Hirst if it could have been an animal outside and inquired if there were any dogs kept in kennels in the area.

Mr Hirst confirmed that there were a few dogs kept outside but that the noise had been coming from next door. When pushed if it could have possibly been an animal noise he replied "definitely not".

Previously, the court heard Dwelaniyah had suffered burns to 15 to 20% of his body, consistent with him being immersed in scalding water.

Jurors were told Robinson made internet searches for 'Natural remedies for burn wound', and 'How to treat a first degree burn' in the days after prosecutors believe the burns were inflicted, on October 18.

That day the court was told she called her son’s nursery saying she was having “car trouble” and would be unable to get him there. But the prosecutor described this a “deliberate lie”, saying: “She wasn’t having any ‘car trouble’ and the reason she couldn’t take him to nursery and never took him to nursery again was it was likely that that is the day that he sustained those burn injuries.

“She knew if she took him to the nursery that the staff would see his injuries.”

Jurors were previously told that the toddler had also been beaten with a cane until she drew blood.

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The court was told Dwelaniyah, “suffered in pain for the next 18 days” until his death.

Christina Robinson denies the charges against her.

The trial continues.