Husband of woman accused of murdering one-year-old 'bears no responsibility', court hears

Laura Castle admits manslaughter but denies murder

The husband of a woman accused of murdering a one-year-old they were hoping to adopt, has told a court he bears 'no responsibility' for the child's death.

Leiland-James Corkill died after being injured at the home of Laura and Scott Castle, who were hoping to adopt the child, in Barrow in January 2021.

Laura Castle admits manslaughter but denies murder. Scott Castle denies allowing his death.

Scott Castle previously told Preston Crown Court he loved the one-year-old and did not think he was in danger or at risk of serious harm.

Finishing his evidence, Castle was asked about texts exchanged between him and his wife about smacking Leiland-James.

Prosecution barrister Michael Brady QC asked Castle if in the text exchange, in which his wife talked about "leathering" Leiland-James, he was encouraging her to give "a good hard smack".

Castle said "No". He told the court he had sent a text saying: "Maybe a good hard smack might change that" with a "LOL" at the end, as he said he was "just joking".

The prosecution then questioned if it still seemed funny now. Castle said: "No, it doesn't."

Laura Castle replied to the text saying: "It doesn't work, he just cries more". 

Michael Brady QC asked Scott Castle: "How is smacking him on the bum going to settle him?" He replied it was "telling him to shush".

The prosecution asked Castle: "There was nothing restrained or measured about the way you and Laura smacked was there? You smacked harshly and frequently?"

Castle replied: "I wouldn't say it was harshly no", continuing, "it would never hurt. It was never with force."

When asked if he accepted that he bears any responsibility for Leiland-James' death he replied: "I don't bear any responsibility, no".

He said he had not seen any marks on the child before he left the house on 6 January 2021, when Leiland-James was taken to hospital where he died the following day.

The case continues.