A three-year-old whose mother is accused of murdering him died from a combination of a brain injury and infected burns, jurors have heard.

Christina Robinson, 30, is accused of causing a fatal head injury to her son Dwelaniyah by violently shaking him at the family home in Bracken Court, Ushaw Moor, Durham, in November 2022.

She is also accused of deliberately scalding his legs and buttocks and hitting him with a bamboo cane in the weeks before.

The married defendant, who is originally from Tamworth, Staffordshire, denies murder and a child cruelty charge.

Newcastle Crown Court has heard she claims she was allowed to chastise the little boy according to the teachings of the Bible.

Home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper carried out a post-mortem examination on Dwelaniyah and reported that he had suffered 20% burns to his body, which would have been extremely painful.

He weighed 2st 3lb (14kg) and was 3ft 2in (97cm) tall, the pathologist recorded.

Robinson claimed her son was injured by hot water when he was playing in the shower, although the prosecution disputes that, saying he was deliberately scalded on his legs and buttocks.

She did not seek medical help for the burns, treating his injuries herself, the jury has heard.

Dr Cooper said Dwelaniyah’s cause of death was a head injury and infected burns.

He said the burns would have contributed to his death to some extent because his body would have been working hard to cope with the trauma, repairing the damage and fighting infection.

Asked about the impact of the burns, Dr Cooper told the court: “He was not a fit and healthy three-year-old.

“It is likely he would have died anyway but he would have been in a better position to withstand the head injury (had he not suffered the burns).”

Robinson claimed Dwelaniyah choked while eating a cheese bap, but Dr Cooper said that did not account for the head injuries he observed during the post-mortem examination.

Robinson contacted the emergency services on November 5 2022, claiming her son had stopped breathing after “his eyes went all weird” while he was eating.

Paramedics worked on him before taking Dwelaniyah, whose heart had stopped, to hospital but he could not be saved.

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The jury has been told Robinson was having an affair with a man she met on a dating site and had got pregnant using a separate sperm donor.

Her husband was away working for the RAF at the time of their son’s death, the court has heard.

The trial continues.