Christina Robinson sentenced to life in prison for murdering son, 3, in campaign of cruelty

Christina Robinson will spend a minimum of 25 years in prison for the murder of her son Dwelaniyah. Credit: Durham Police

Warning - this article contains distressing details about child cruelty and murder

A mother who beat, caned and burned her three-year-old son has been sentenced to life in prison for his murder.

Christina Robinson had exposed her son Dwelaniyah to cruelty and excruciating pain over several weeks before she shook him to death at the family home in Bracken Court, Ushaw Moor, Durham, in November 2022.

A trial at Newcastle Crown Court heard she had deliberately immersed him in scalding water, causing severe burns that left him in agony.

The 30-year-old was also found guilty of four child cruelty offences, which happened in the weeks leading up to his death.

At sentencing, the judge handed Robinson a life sentence, whereby she must serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Cameras were allowed in Newcastle Crown Court as the judge delivered sentencing

Mr Justice Garnham addressed Robinson, stating: “What must have gone through the mind of this little boy, being beaten with a cane by his mother, despite these terrible burns, does not bear thinking about.”

During the hearing, Robinson once again “declined representation” but told the court:

"I want to make it very very clear that I did not kill my child in any way however the prosecution chooses to say it or whichever way anyone wants to imagine it.

"The fact is I did not kill my child. I stand by it and will forever stand by it and I pray for a day when justice will be served."

During the three-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the prosecution set out how Robinson deliberately scalded the little boy as a punishment, how she hit him with spoons, slapped him and beat him with a bamboo cane, how she did not seek medical attention for his burns.

The court also heard how she neglected him by repeatedly leaving her children at home alone while she conducted an affair while her husband was away serving with the RAF.

Robinson, who represented herself after parting with her legal team, told the jury in her closing speech on Tuesday 19 March: “Please do not find me guilty for something I have not done.”

But a jury found her guilty of all charges, and today (24 May) she was told she will serve a minimum of a quarter of a century behind bars.

The defendant, originally from Tamworth, Staffordshire, took more than 20 minutes before dialling 999 on the day of the fatal incident, first speaking to her husband on the phone despite him serving with the RAF 240 miles away, and then using Google to look at how to resuscitate a child.

When the emergency services arrived, Robinson appeared calm as she explained her version of events to a police officer while medics worked desperately on Dwelaniyah.

Christina Robinson appeared "calm" when emergency services arrived, despite the condition of her son. Credit: Durham Police

Despite their efforts at the scene, Dwelaniyah could not be saved and probably died at the house, although further attempts to resuscitate him were made in hospital.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had been the victim of a series of assaults and had sustained a number of non-accidental injuries.

In a statement, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Turner, Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Aruana at Durham Constabulary, said: “Dwelaniyah was a defenceless little boy who had his life ahead of him, but this was cruelly taken away his own mother – someone he should have been able to trust, someone who should have cared about him.

“We may never know why or what caused Christina Robinson to do what she did.

“Her actions are unforgivable and sadly nothing will bring Dwelaniyah back but at least she is now facing the consequences of what she has done.

“This has been a truly heartbreaking and emotional case for everyone involved, including my investigation team, who have worked tirelessly to bring Robinson to justice.

“My thoughts remain with those who loved and cared about Dwelaniyah.”

The NSPCC Campaigns Manager Helen Westerman told ITV Tyne Tees: "This has been a deeply troubling case, and our heartfelt thoughts and condolences go out to Dwelaniyah’s family and those close to him.

"It is devastating that a child should endure such violence and suffering, and at the hands of his mother.

“Every child should be able to grow up in a safe and happy environment and we all have a responsibility to make our voices heard if we suspect anything that could put a child in harm’s way. If you’re worried about a child’s safety or wellbeing visit the NSPCC’s website for assistance.

"Remember, if you think a child or young person’s safety is at an imminent risk, call 999 immediately.”

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