Dwelaniyah Robinson: Mother who murdered son after 'campaign of violence' jailed for 25 years

A mother who murdered her three-year-old son after a "campaign of violence" has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years.

Warning: This story contains details some may find upsetting

Christina Robinson, 30, violently shook her son Dwelaniyah Robinson at the family home in Bracken Court, Ushaw Moor, Durham, causing a fatal brain injury in November 2022.

During a three-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the prosecution said Robinson slapped and beat her son with a bamboo cane in the weeks leading up to his death.

After he died, investigators found a broken cane in her house which had traces of his skin and blood on it.

The court heard Robinson, a member of the Black Hebrew Israelite religion, claimed the Bible advised the use of the rod for the "correction" of children, weeks before she murdered him.

She also neglected him by leaving him alone at home and deliberately scalded him as punishment, causing severe burns that prosecutors said left him in agony.

Excruciating pain

Robinson, who is originally from Tamworth, Staffordshire, told the court her son's burns occurred accidentally while she washed him in the shower and she did not seek medical attention for him because she was ashamed.

Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, previously said as much as 20% of Dwelaniyah's body was covered in burns that would have caused excruciating pain for several weeks but Robinson never sought medical treatment.

Robinson was the only adult in the family home on 5 November, when her son suffered the brain injury that killed him, jurors were told.

She waited 20 minutes before calling 999, her phone records showing she first called her husband, who was 240 miles away serving with the RAF at the time, and then used Google to look for ways to resuscitate a child.

When she did call an ambulance shortly after 4pm, she said her son had choked on a cheese sandwich and was not breathing.

Emergency workers never found anything to suggest there was an obstruction, something later backed up by medical experts.

He was rushed to the University Hospital of North Durham but sadly pronounced dead a short time later.

Boiling bath

Dwelaniyah was found with significant injuries all over his body including serious burns to his bottom and the upper parts of his legs, which were sustained up to three weeks before his death.

It is believed he sustained these by being submerged in a bath of boiling water, but instead of seeking medical treatment, Robinson wrapped him in bandages she had ordered off the internet, which is where she also sought medical advice.

A post-mortem examination found he died from a head injury that could only have been caused by shaking or being thrown against something.

It showed the youngster had been the victim of a series of assaults and had sustained a number of non-accidental injuries.

'Campaign of violence'

Mr Wright said: "In other words, somebody had been deliberately hurting this little boy and had been doing so over a period of time.

"That person was his mother, the defendant Christina Robinson."

In his closing speech, Mr Wright told the court the boy was "subjected to a campaign of violence and cruelty by his mother for petty wrongs".

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."

Robinson was found guilty of murder and four child cruelty offences, said to have taken place in the weeks leading up to Dwelaniyah's death, when she was convicted on Thursday 21 March.

She was also convicted of child neglect by leaving Dwelaniyah at home while she had an affair behind her husband's back.