A Mansfield toddler who is said to have been beaten and poisoned to death could have been saved had urgent medical attention been sought, a jury had been told.
Giving evidence at the trial of Tom Curd, 31 from Watford, and Abigail Leatherland, 26 formerly of Mansfield, was pathologist Nathaniel Carey.
Curd and Leatherland are on trial at Truro Crown Court accused of murdering 22-month-old Eve at a home they shared in Liskeard in October 2017.
Various medical experts have described throughout the trial how Eve was severely injured in the days leading up to her death, suffering a fractured skull, broken ribs and a lacerated liver.
She was also administered with a fatal dose of codeine, an act the prosecution claims, was carried out by at least one of the defendants in a bid to sedate her.
Answering the questions of prosecuting barrister Sean Brunton QC, Dr Carey confirmed that Eve’s main cause of death was codeine intoxication, but that a contributing factor to her death was multiple injuries.
Dr Carey confirmed that Eve had suffered a fracture to her skull and that two weeks prior to her death she’d been unwell and seen a doctor.
He also stated that he’d been made aware of reports that Eve had banged her head and been stood on by her half-brother whilst laying in her bed.
Mr Brunton questioned Dr Carey over Curd’s assertion that he’d found Eve’s brother standing on her, Dr Carey replying that the significance of her injuries were not consistent with injuries caused by rough play.
Day One: Trial starts into death of Mansfield Woodhouse toddler
Day Two: Murder trial told Mansfield toddler was beaten, poisoned and left to die
Day Three: Mansfield toddler was cold and blue when paramedics arrived to save her
Day Four: Murder accused ‘laughed and joked’ as Mansfield toddler lay dead in a hospital bed
Day Five: Jury told Mansfield toddler had enough codeine in her system to kill an adult
Day Six: Mansfield toddler suffered 12 rib fractures and two skull fractures in the days before she died
Mr Brunton asked if rough play could be put to one side, Dr Carey said: “Yes, I’ve never seen a case where an infant sibling could cause injuries of this extent.”
Dr Carey also commented on Eve’s apparent emaciation, saying that her level of injury would have meant she was poorly for several days and was likely to have stopped her eating. He added that sedation can also reduce appetite.
Dr Carey confirmed medical evidence that showed Eve had suffered 19 separate injuries and that the injury to her chin and jaw was consistent with the gripping of a hand.
Again, disputing the suggestion of rough play, Dr Carey said: “I’ve never seen this sort of thing caused by rough play. Particularly the injuries to the head and facial area.
Dr Carey said: “The skull injury was caused by a severe blunt impact either from a head striking a surface or something striking the head.
“Fractures to the ribs were inconsistent with rough play or domestic accident.”
Dr Carey says he doesn’t accept that Eve’s half-brother could have been responsible for the injuries.
The court was shown a video clip of a drowsy looking Eve slumped in her chair.
Eve Leatherland pictured with her father, who is not involved in the court case, when she was a baby (Image: Family photo)
Commenting on the clip Dr Carey said: “The clip is consistent with Eve being given a large amount of sedative medication. “
It was claimed by Dr Carey that in all likelihood, taking into account the apparent outset of rigor mortis and Eve’s condition when she arrived in hospital, Eve had been dead for some hours before she was pronounced dead at Derriford Hospital.
Asked if the fractures were life threatening, Dr Carey said: “Yes. Particularly the laceration to the liver and significant head injury.”
Dr Carey was then asked if medical attention could have saved her life in relation to the body and head injuries, to which he replied “yes”.
He was then asked whether medical attention could have saved her life regarding the codeine, to which Dr Carey said: “Yes, the effects could have been rapidly reversed with the right treatment.”
Both Curd and Leatherland deny the charges against them. The trial continues.