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Murdered baby was being toughed up'

PUBLISHED: 18:31 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:08 12 August 2010

A MAN accused of killing his partner s 17-month-old baby after months of abuse claimed he was toughening him up for when he was older, a court heard on Tuesday.  The 32 year-old, who can not be named, is on trial for murder alongside the boy s 27-year-o

A MAN accused of killing his partner's 17-month-old baby after months of abuse claimed he was 'toughening him up for when he was older,' a court heard on Tuesday.

The 32 year-old, who can not be named, is on trial for murder alongside the boy's 27-year-old mother and lodger Jason Owen, 36, of Wittersham Road, Bromley.

The child, who was on the 'at risk register' with Haringey social services, died after suffering a catalogue of injuries including a broken back and eight fractured ribs.

Owen, who stayed at the house during the last few weeks of the child's life, told police he spoke to the 32 year-old boyfriend shortly before their arrest.

He said: "He would say things like he didn't mean to be rough with him, he was only toughening him up for when he was older, things like that."

But he said he never witnessed any attacks on the baby but noticed he always seemed to have injuries.

He added: "I always used to say 'where does he get the bruises from' and they said he's supposed to be banging his head on the cot.

"If basically one of them could have done this to him, I wish I could have said ages ago to social services but obviously I would never dream one of them doing something like that to a child."

Owen also told police about an incident late at night which left the child 'panicky and sweaty.'

He said: "I would hear someone go into the bedroom and then I could hear [the baby] was like crying.

"Say if he was crying and someone was trying to stop him crying, then it would stop, and then I heard 'Ah' like someone trying to get their breath back."

Owen added: "[The baby] would always be nervous if they walked in, put his head down if they came in the room."

The day before his death the boy was wrapped up 'like a cocoon' and left face down in his cot all day, the court heard.

Owen said that the boyfriend discovered the boy dead the next morning at around 11.30am.

The trial continues.

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