Doncaster baby ‘was shaken to death’

Sheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court

A three-month-old baby was shaken to death during a violent incident at his mother’s home in Doncaster, a court heard.

James Larkin is accused of the manslaughter of three-month-old Christoper Larkin, at their house in Dunscroft, but says he was trying to save the little boy.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Larkin, aged 26, now living at Crawshaw Road, Hexthorpe, and his then partner, 21-year-old Laura Ostle, of Broadway, Dunscroft, had a volatile relationship.

At the time the baby died, both Larkin and Ostle lived at the same Broadway address.

A next door neighbour told police she had heard a bad argument between the pair on the day the baby died.

The court heard the couple were recorded by police ‘getting their stories straight’ after the incident which it is alleged resulted in the child’s death two years ago.

James Larkin, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and his partner, 21-year-old Laura Ostle, pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Opening the case for the prosecution Dafydd Enoch, said: “They were recorded in the back of the police car immediately after the incident. They were discussing getting their stories straight. It is clear their main concern is for themselves and not Christopher.

Mr Larkin is accused of shaking Christopher and causing his death by unlawful killing.

But he claims to have acted to save the baby in what he thought was a medical emergency, says his defence barrister Mr Adam Waterman.

Mr Enoch also went into detail from witnesses about the couple’s “volatile relationship”, claiming Miss Ostle treated Mr Larkin like a “lapdog” and would “constantly rile him and wind him up”.

Mr Enoch said that the cause of the baby boy’s death was being shaken by Larkin.

He told the jury: “This is a tragic case, the tragedy is the loss of such a young life, but Christopher was born into a toxic environment and that is what lead to his death.”

Larkin was charged with one count of manslaughter and one of perverting the course of justice. Laura Ostle, of the same address, was charged with perverting the course of justice.

Both Mr Larkin, aged 26, and Ms Ostle pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing on March 23.

The case continues.