A witness in a baby manslaughter trial has said he was shocked when it was suggested that the young accused man and the child’s 27-year-old mother might have been in a relationship.
Neighbour Simon Whitlam told the jury he knew that 16-year-old Scott Gladwin was living at the home of mother-of-three Kelly Middleton in Woodland Avenue, Huthwaite, in 2010.
The witness was asked by prosecutor Yvonne Coen, QC: “Did you ever see anything to suggest they might be in a relationship together?”
Mr Whitlam replied: “When the police mentioned that to me I nearly dropped through the floor. It was never anything that went through my mind.”
Gladwin, now 20, denies unlawfully killing four-and-a-half-month-old Scott Cawthorne by shaking him in February 2010.
Reporting restrictions in the trial at Nottingham Crown Court have been lifted, allowing the baby, his siblings and mother to be named.
The jury has been told that Gladwin was left to look after baby Scott and his two-year-old brother while their mother went to the shops 10 minutes away.
The baby suffered a catastrophic internal head injury and died in hospital three days later when his life support was withdrawn.
Mr Whitlam said Gladwin’s mother lived next door to Kelly Middleton and her children.
There had been a big fall-out, the court was told, between Mrs Middleton and her partner Adam Cawthorne, who had left shortly before Christmas.
The witness said Gladwin seemed to interact well with the children and was friendly.
At 1.25pm on 3rd February 2010, Gladwin knocked on his door and said: “Will you come and look at the baby, I don’t think he looks very good.”
Asked how Gladwin appeared, the witness said: “All right, nice and calm.”
But as soon as he saw the baby ‘white as a ghost’ Mr Whitlam dashed back for his mobile phone and called the emergency services.
The jury were played a recording of the desperate 999 call.
The operator was heard giving Mr Whitlam instructions on how to try to revive the baby.
Earlier a health visitor told the jury she had left the house only half an hour earlier.
Katherine Freeman, a community paediatric assistant, had been giving the older boy his routine two-year assessment.
The witness said she saw baby Scott in his car-seat in the living room. He appeared to be a ‘happy, contented’ child, who was clean and seemed well cared for.
Questioned by defence counsel Shaun Smith, QC, she said she could not remember the mother saying a tummy bug had been going round and baby Scott had been grizzly and not taking milk.
The trial continues.