Woman accused of murdering stepson Harvey Borrington, 3, 'twisting' story, trial told

Nottingham Crown Court heard the 'scrape on Harvey's back was caused by him jumping off a stool' Credit: PA

A woman accused of murdering her three-year-old stepson has denied tailoring her version of events to fit the evidence after a prosecutor accused her of "twisting and turning" her story.

Leila Borrington wept in the dock on Monday as she said Harvey Borrington fell backwards off a sofa, on to a toy lorry and hit his head on the living room floor, sustaining fatal head injuries at their home near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in August 2021.

A video she made, previously played to the jury by the prosecution and showing Harvey lying wailing on the floor – minutes after he sustained the fatal head injuries – was also discussed.

In a police interview on August 13 2021, she was asked by officers: “Why were you filming it?”

Her response, read out in court by Ms Howes, was: “I just knew that he was not making a noise at first, and then when he started making a noise I expected him to come around, so that is why I took it just to show his breathing and how he was.”

Borrington said she took the video in anticipation of being asked to go to A&E by the NHS 111 service, so she could show doctors.

“Why did you not show the ambulance crews the video?” Ms Howes asked.

“I did not need to – when they arrived he was still in the same way that he was in the video so I just let them get on with dealing with him,” Borrington responded.

In his cross-examination, Mr Hankin said Borrington assaulted Harvey because she knew he would be unable to tell anyone, which she denied.

He said: “However long you cared for the boys, it was a fraction of the time that their mother cared for the boys, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” she responded.

He asked: “There were no bone fractures for Harvey until you. Why is this?”

Borrington replied: “He was getting older, becoming more mobile, and there was an issue with him becoming more clumsy and things like that.”

Court hears stepmum had 'introduced new elements' to her story

Meanwhile Jonas Hankin KC, prosecuting, told her she had “introduced elements” to her story that she “knew had not happened” after she claimed she did “not directly” see the fall as she recalled the “very stressful” time.

Mr Hankin instead claimed she had inflicted the injuries by assaulting the youngster.

Asked why she told paramedics Harvey had fallen when she accepted she did not see it, Borrington, 23, replied: “It was clear that that was what had happened.

“It was clear that he had fallen backwards and hit his head on the floor. It is the only thing that could have happened.”

Borrington is on trial at Nottingham Crown Court accused of murdering Harvey at her home in Main Road, Jacksdale, on August 7 2021 while he was in her sole care after he suffered a fractured skull, deep scalp bruises and a bleed on the brain.

He was also found to have sustained bruises around the cheeks, a spiral fracture to the left arm and other injuries in the weeks before his death.

Giving evidence for a second day, Borrington told the court that Harvey, who was non-verbal, autistic and communicates through a handful of words, hand gestures and a variety of screams, did not cry or react to pain as other children would.

She told a friend in the days after his death: “He broke his arm and he did not f****** cry.”

The defendant said this meant injuries went unnoticed if they were not directly witnessed, as Harvey did not always indicate when he was in pain.

'Scrape on Harvey's back was caused by him jumping off a stool', court hears

Questioned about previous injuries by her barrister, Sally Howes KC, Borrington claimed they were accidental, and was recorded telling a friend on August 10 that “there is an explanation for everything”.

The broken arm was caused when Borrington pulled Harvey up as he fell down the stairs, and a scrape on his back was caused by him jumping off a stool, she claimed.

She said bruises on his cheeks were caused by her pinching them due to him storing food in them, which could have led him to choke, and pinch marks on his ear were self-inflicted as repeated ear infections were causing him irritation.

Referring to a video previously shown to the jury of Harvey crying after stubbing his toe, Mr Hankin said: “If he expresses pain when he stubs his toe, he is going to express pain when his left humerus is broken into parts, isn’t he?”

Borrington responded: “Sometimes he would cry but we could not tell if that was because of pain or not.

“I would not know if that was because of the pain or shock or something, because he was not able to tell us.”

The trial continues.

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