Woman who admitted killing 12-month-old boy she wanted to adopt guilty of murder

Laura Castle told doctors Leiland-James Corkill had died after falling off the sofa because she was 'terrified of the consequences

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Laura Castle, 38, has been found guilty at Preston Crown Court of murdering one-year-old Leiland-James Corkill.

Castle entered a plea of guilty to the manslaughter of Leiland-James Corkill on the eve of her trial at Preston Crown Court – more than 16 months after the youngster died from catastrophic head injuries.

Leiland-James was placed with Castle, 38, and her husband Scott Castle, 35, by authorities in Cumbria less than five months before his death from catastrophic head injuries.

The youngster was a “looked-after child” who was taken into care at birth before he was approved to live with his prospective adoptive parents from August 2020.

Leiland-James Corkill
Leiland-James Corkill

Laura Castle rang for an ambulance on the morning of January 6 last year and reported Leiland-James had fallen off the sofa, injured his head and was struggling to breathe.

However, hospital medics raised concerns as the extent of his injuries did not match her account.

Leiland-James died the following day as Laura Castle maintained to police, as well as family and friends, that the death was a tragic accident while her husband, a night shift worker, was asleep.

She stuck to her story until the day the jury was sworn in last month for her trial at Preston Crown Court when she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Her new version of events was she had shaken Leiland-James after he had not stopped crying at breakfast and his head hit the arm-rest of the sofa before he fell off her knee on to the floor.

Medical experts told the court though that the degree of force required to cause Leiland-James’ injuries would have been “severe” and likely to be a combination of shaking and an impact with a solid surface..

Prosecutor Michael Brady QC said it was the Crown’s case she killed the boy as she lost her temper and suggested she smashed the back of his head against a piece of furniture.

Former care worker Laura Castle denied intending to kill Leiland-James or seriously harm him but jurors took just two-and-half hours on Tuesday to convict her of murder.

She was also convicted of child cruelty against Leiland-James.

Scott Castle, a machinist at defence firm BAE Systems, was found not guilty of allowing Leiland-James’ death.

He was also cleared of child cruelty.

He said he never had any concerns that anything bad was going to happen with the boy and he trusted his wife.

More to follow...