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Mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son says she caned him because Bible allows it, court hears

A mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son has claimed she used a bamboo cane to beat him because the Bible told her she could "chastise her child", a court has heard.

Christina Robinson, 30, called the emergency services to her home in Bracken Court, Durham, in November 2022 and claimed Dwelaniyah had gone limp while eating a cheese bun.

But Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court the boy had suffered a serious, fatal head injury after being shaken violently by his mother.

The prosecution said the child's legs were heavily bandaged, hiding burns which covered up to 20% of his body and would have caused excruciating pain for several weeks prior to his death, having been forcibly and deliberately scalded in the bath.

Jurors were shown paramedics' body-worn footage as they tried to save the boy at the house, where Robinson said the youngster had hurt himself in the shower but she had not thought he needed hospital treatment.

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Neighbours heard whimpering at night but did not know the source of the sound, the prosecution said.

Dwelaniyah, whose heart had stopped beating, was taken to hospital but could not be saved.

Bruises on his body showed he had been hit by a cylindrical object and tests on a bamboo cane found in the house showed traces of his blood and skin, the court heard.

Mr Wright told jurors: "The defendant admits that she hit him with a weapon but says that she was allowed to do so because the Bible tells her that she should chastise her child."

A post-mortem revealed he had been the victim of a series of assaults and had sustained several non-accidental injuries, the jury was told.

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The prosecutor said: "The defendant now asserts that beating a child with a cane so that she drew blood was consistent with her being an adherent of the teachings of the Bible."

Robinson denies murdering Dwelaniyah and child cruelty.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday.