Baby murderer Laura Castle has been branded a “monster” by the biological mother of Leiland-James Corkill.Leiland-James was taken into care soon after Laura Corkill gave birth to him in December 2019.Ms Corkill said she stayed in frequent contact with his foster mother before his placement for potential adoption with Castle, 38, and her husband, Scott, 35, at their home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.She sent a heartfelt letter to the judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, and urged him to hand Castle the maximum sentence possible.
In a letter, Ms Corkill told Mr Justice James Baker she had been the victim of domestic violence but was working hard to give him the home he needed.
Ms Corkill wrote: “He was placed in the home of a monster.“A monster that was meant to love, nurture and cherish him as I would have done. A monster that robbed Leiland-James at only 12 months old of his life, robbed me, his brother, sisters and my family of one day opening the door to the wonderful young man that I know he would have become.“Leiland-James was ripped from my loving arms, but I was always his mammy. I carried him within my body for nine months, with every beat of my heart full of love, full of pride, full of promise. My beautiful blue-eyed baby, love saw his first breath, evil took his last breath here on earth. Mammy was not ready to say goodbye, I will never be ready to say goodbye.“I carry Leiland-James forever in my heart, I hear his cheeky laughter in the wind that blows, see his beautiful smile in my memories engrained within my sole, his photos on every wall. I have footprints and handprints and a memory box, but all I want is to hold him.”
Castle told medics, police and her family that the death was a tragic accidental fall from a sofa before she pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the beginning of her trial last month.She continued to deny murder but said she entered the plea to “have justice” for Leiland-James.Ms Corkill wrote: “The monster has said that she wants ‘her boy to have justice’. He was not and never will be your baby boy. You lost that right the first second it went through your head to hurt him.“He was a precious baby, vulnerable and innocent, he had no voice, he could not defend himself. The names you called him and the hurt you caused him, the fact that you blamed him for your disgusting behaviour and treatment of him, Leiland-James was a baby! A tiny baby! Shame! shame! on you. You are not a mother, you are a monster.”
In her victim personal statement read to the court she said: “I was told he would be safe and he would have a good life. I was fine with that.“Now my life is broken.”Foster mother Charlotte Day, who looked after the youngster up to August 2020, said the Castles “should have been his forever happy family”.She too had been left heartbroken at the loss of a “beautiful boy with the most contagious laugh”.Her family all loved Leiland-James, she said, and they often visit his graveside to tell him he is much loved and sorely missed.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: "Leiland-James had been placed with Laura Castle so he could be cared for and nurtured.
"But rather than a place of refuge, his new home became a place of danger, with Castle’s violence against him resulting in tragic consequences.
“Castle has now faced justice but nothing can undo what she did.
"However, it is vital that all agencies involved in Leiland-James’ short life wholly take onboard any learnings concluded by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review."
An independent review into the adoption process is due to report back in July.