Tot had NINE broken ribs and a fractured spine when he died

PUBLISHED: 16:35 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:40 12 August 2010

A MOTHER accused of murdering her baby told a doctor he liked to play rough and tumble when he was admitted to hospital covered in bruises, a court heard on Monday.  The paediatrician who examined the infant said she was left alarmed after discovering

A MOTHER accused of murdering her baby told a doctor he liked to play 'rough and tumble' when he was admitted to hospital covered in bruises, a court heard on Monday.

The paediatrician who examined the infant said she was left 'alarmed' after discovering the child had badly marked buttocks caused by several 'different impacts', bruises to the face and chest and scratches on his leg and shoulder.

The 17-month-old boy died in August last year from a string of injuries including a broken back, the Old Bailey has been told.

The toddler's mother and her 32-year-old lover, who both cannot be named for legal reasons, and a third man, Jason Owen, 36, of Wittersham Road, Bromley, deny murdering the baby on August 3 last year.

The woman was arrested in December last year after the boy, then aged about nine months, was admitted to the Whittington hospital in north London after a referral from the family GP.

Paediatrician Dr Metta Jorgensson examined the child but his mother could give no explanation as to how the injuries had been caused.

A decision was made to admit the baby to the paediatric ward and Dr Jorgensson referred him to social services and the hospital's consultant paediatrician Dr Heather McKinnon.

The following day Detective Constable Angela Slade from Haringey's child protection team met with social workers and medical staff at the hospital, before she interviewed the mum under caution.

DC Slade told the court: "She told me that her son was a lively child and he had a habit of banging his head on the cot bars.

"She was upset that the police and social services had become involved and her general demeanour was that she was upset about what had happened."

Earlier, the father of the boy told the court how his wife sobbed and told him 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' after he rushed to hospital to be given the terrible news.

He last spent time with his little boy the weekend before his death, when the mother dropped him round to stay for a couple of nights.

Before that he had rarely seen his child because the woman continued to say he was unwell with a 'cold or flu'.

He said: "He had a bandage on his left hand, his head was shaven and scarred and he looked very thin and withdrawn.

"I also found out while I had him that he had a sore toe.

"She said he had pulled off his finger nail and hurt his finger."

He said the woman 'didn't seem that concerned' by the boy's condition and left some cream for his head.

He returned the boy to the mother on Sunday lunchtime, just five days before his death, and waved goodbye to him for the last time.

"She met me at the bus stop," he said, fighting back tears. "As she walked away he screamed 'daddy, daddy, daddy', so much so that she brought him back so I could say goodbye."

The court has heard that when he died the toddler had suffered nine fractured ribs, torn fingernails and toenails and bruises to the face.

The boy's spine was also broken between the 12th thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae - an injury similar to what 'might happen in a road traffic accident', the court has been told.

He had been monitored by Haringey social services for nine months and was placed with a family friend in early 2007, but was allowed back home after a month.

It is alleged he was subjected to many months of abuse, including being violently swung by his arms or legs, grabbed round the neck, punched and being thrown off chairs.

All three defendants deny murder and the boyfriend and Owen also deny causing or allowing the death of a child.

The mother has admitted allowing the death of a child, but denies causing the death.

The trial continues.

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