A woman who shook a one-year-old baby she was hoping to adopt to death after she ‘lost it’ over his crying has today been found guilty of murder.
Laura Castle killed 13-month-old Leiland-James Corkill less than five months after he had been placed into her care by council officials.
The 38-year-old former care worker, from Barrow, Cumbria, was trying to formally adopt the youngster at the time of his death in January last year.
However council workers became concerned – enough to consider removing him from her care – after she said she was struggling to bond with the child.
The youngster died after suffering brain injuries at the home of Laura and her partner Scott Castle.
Police later found texts on her phone in which she had described the youngster as a ‘k**bhead’ and a ‘whingebag’.
Though Castle initially denied any involvement in little Leiland-James’s death, she later admitted started shaking the youngster because she ‘wanted him to stop crying’.
She accept responsibility for the youngster’s death, but denied his murder.
However jurors at Preston Crown Court took just two-and-half hours on Tuesday to convict her of the baby’s murder. She was also convicted of child cruelty against Leiland-James.
Her partner Scott, a 35-year-old former machinist at defence firm BAE Systems, was found not guilty of allowing Leiland-James’ death. He was also cleared of child cruelty.
He told the court he never had any concerns that anything bad was going to happen with the boy and he trusted his wife.
Today officials at Cumbria County Council described the case as ‘truly shocking’ and issued an apology for the death of Leiland-James – saying ‘it should have never happened’.
They also promised an official review into his death, which is expected to be published in July.
The court previously heard Leiland-James had been living with his prospective adoptive parents – Laura and Scott – when emergency services were called to their home in Barrow-in-Furness on January 6 last year.
Castle, 38, initially claimed Leiland-James accidentally fell off the sofa at her home despite the youngster having suffered catastrophic head injuries.
However, hospital medics raised concerns as the extent of his injuries did not match her account.
Leiland-James died the following day as Castle maintained to police, as well as family and friends, that the death was a tragic accident while her husband, who works nights, was asleep.
The defendant continued to maintain Leiland-James’s death was a tragic accident until earlier this month, when she admitted his manslaughter on the eve of her trial at Preston Crown Court.
Castle also lied in her prepared defence case statement before she eventually changed her plea and conceded she had shaken Leiland-James after he would not stop crying and screaming, the court heard.
She said she lied because she was ‘ashamed’ and ‘terrified of the consequences of her actions’.
The youngster was a ‘looked-after child’ who was taken into care at birth before he was approved by authorities to live with Castle and her partner.
Medical experts had previously told the trial though that the degree of force required to cause his injuries would have been ‘severe’ and ‘considerable’.