Man accused of murdering girlfriend’s toddler claims he ‘dropped him down the stairs’

Man accused of murdering girlfriend’s toddler claims he ‘dropped him down the stairs’

A man accused of murdering his partner’s toddler while she was at the hairdressers, claims he dropped the child down the stairs, a court heard.

Jonathan Simpson, 25, denies both murder and manslaughter in relation to the death of girlfriend Emma Marshall’s 22-month-old Jacob while in his care.

The tot is said to have sustained “multiple and catastrophic injuries”, with the court hearing the defendant gave “several different explanations”.

Little Jacob, just two months from his second birthday, was found unconscious with a fatal brain injury at his home in Belsford Way, Speke, on July 12, 2019, reports the Liverpool Echo.

John Benson, QC, prosecuting, at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday said Simpson, who is of no fixed abode, had initially said the child fell off a couch.

He said the defendant gave “conflicting and unusual accounts” about how Jacob became injured to neighbours, paramedics, hospital staff and police.

The court heard Miss Marshall met Simpson on a dating website in early 2019 and by June that year was spending most nights at her home.

He said: “She described him as being loving and affectionate, always doing things for her and her boys.”

The prosecutor described the toddler as happy but “clumsy” and “a livewire”, meaning he could be “a bit of a handful”, previously sustaining “lumps and bumps” while in the care of Simpson.

Prior to heading for her hair appointment in Warrington at 2.30pm, Miss Marshall had taken her eldest son, six, to school but on returning found dry blood around Jacob’s nose, the court heard.

Simpson is alleged to have told her he had run into a door or wall and offered to watch him while she went out that afternoon, explained Mr Benson.

Neighbour Stephen Forster claimed Simpson came running towards him at 3.35pm, asking him if he could do CPR because the “baby had fallen and wasn’t breathing”, said the prosecutor.

He said he found Jacob lying on a mat on the kitchen floor, with Mr Benson adding: “It was very obvious that he had bruises to his head.”

Mr Forster said the boy’s eyes were closed and he was “unresponsive, conscious and his breathing was very shallow”, the court heard.

He was surprised that Simpson had up until then failed to call for an ambulance and “prompted” him to do so, Mr Benson said.

At 3.47pm, the defendant told the 999 operator he believed Jacob had banged his head in recent days and had then fallen off the couch again minutes ago, leaving a “large lump”, the court heard.

He went on to add that he was outside having a cigarette at the time, said Mr Benson.

The jury heard Miss Marshall, who was driven to Warrington by her mum, had low phone battery and so turned it off, only to later find a message from Simpson saying Jacob had had “another fall”.

On speaking to the defendant, the mum was then told an ambulance was on the way, the court heard.

Paramedics arrived at 4.10pm, with Mr Benson saying Simpson claimed Jacob had cried for two minutes after falling off the sofa before falling unresponsive.

The prosecutor said: “The ambulance staff were concerned by unexplained bruises to Jacob’s body, including to his groin, head, arms, shins, and feet.”

The child was taken to Alder Hey Hospital, where he was found to have bleeding in both eyes and a “catastrophic brain injury”, which would have required “very considerable force” to cause, the jury was told.

Mr Benson said: “That injury you will hear is entirely consistent with a non-accidental head injury.”

The prosecutor said emergency brain surgery was attempted, but had to be abandoned due to “uncontrollable bleeding”.

He added: “Nothing further could be done.”

The jury heard a safeguarding doctor believed Jacob’s brain injury was consistent with a non-accidental head injury and had “very serious concerns”, so alerted the police.

Mr Benson said: “The defendant who had accompanied Jacob to hospital in the ambulance had left by the time police arrived.”

Mr Benson said Simpson “didn’t make himself available” to police until 8.45pm on July 13, when he attended Winsford Police Station, near his then Cheshire home.

The court heard he told police: “I have been good for three years, now I have gone and dropped a baby down the stairs.”

Simpson was interviewed and gave a prepared statement, before answering “no comment” to further questions, the prosecutor continued.

The statement said Jacob had been left in a fresh nappy while Simpson was outside smoking, but he came inside after hearing a banging, possibly the baby gate.

It added Simpson had found the child on the hallway floor and gate open.

Mr Benson said a post-mortem examination found evidence of “widespread trauma” to the body, bruising which was “very extensive to the face”, and what a Home Office pathologist considered was a “highly suspicious” bruise to the left ear.

The prosecutor suggested Jacob had “died as a result of an unlawful and murderous assault”.

The trial continues.

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