Mother accused of murdering three year-old son ‘beat him with bamboo because Bible said it was ok’

Three-year-old Dwelaniyah suffered brutal injuries, the court heard  (PA Media)
Three-year-old Dwelaniyah suffered brutal injuries, the court heard (PA Media)

A mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son said she was allowed to hit him with a weapon, as the Bible instructs “she should chastise her child”.

Christina Robinson, 30, is accused of repeatedly assaulting Dwelaniyah Robinson, who was found with a series of injuries across his body, which included tramline bruising, a fatal head injury and serious burn marks over his buttocks, genitals and legs.

His mother had contacted 112 shortly after 4pm on 5 November 2022 to request an ambulance and reported that her son was no longer breathing.

She claimed that she had begun CPR 10 minutes after his collapse, and that his “eyes went all weird” while he was eating a cheese bap at her home in Bracken Court in Durham.

Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court heard that paramedics and doctors immediately noticed that Dwelaniyah’s legs were heavily bandaged, and that he was in a state of cardiac arrest.

Despite being rushed to the University of North Durham, the outlook for Dwelaniyah’s resuscitation was extremely poor and he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Dwelaniyah was found with a number of serious injuries at the family home in Bracken Court (Google Maps)
Dwelaniyah was found with a number of serious injuries at the family home in Bracken Court (Google Maps)

“It was as clear to the hospital team as it had been to the doctors who had attended the family home, there was simply no hope of saving him,” prosecutor Richard Wright KC said. “His heart had been stopped for too long and any attempts to save his life were futile.”

Given that he had no known medical history concerns and had been in the sole care of Robinson, concerns were swiftly raised by the “credibility and honesty” of his mother’s story, the court heard.

At the time of his death, Dwelaniyah’s father Gabriel Adu-Appau was serving away in the RAF, while Robinsonu was having an affair and was trying to conceive using a sperm donor.

In a WhatsApp voice note to her lover, she explained that one parent was stricter than the other, and also said that her son was going to get “his ass-kicked” for spilling her medication on the floor.

Upon being examined by medical experts, Dwelaniyah’s injuries included tramline bruising which was discovered across his body, suggesting that he had been beaten with a weapon.

“Over a period of time before his death, he had been the victim of a series of assaults and had sustained a number of non accidental injuries,” Mr Wright said. ”In other words, somebody had been deliberately hurting this little boy and had been doing it over a period of time, and that person, the prosecution say, was his mother Christina Robinson.”

A bamboo cane was recovered from the family home with his blood and body tissue attached to it, with the defendant admitting she had struck him but was allowed to do so given the Bible’s instructions.

Burn marks were also found to be covering between 15 and 20 percent of the total surface area of his body, which would have caused him “excruciating pain”.

Despite Robinson’s claims that these had been caused by Dwelaniyah playing around in the shower, the pattern and distribution of the burns showed that they had been caused by him sitting in scalding water.

“These were very serious burn injuries,” Mr Wright said. “Surgery would have been required to treat them. They required immediate emergency medical attention and would have left Dwelaniyah scarred for life.

“That much would have been patently obvious to anyone but for weeks after these burns were sustained, she sought no help for her son and instead watched as she struggled in pain, bleeding through the bandages she had applied.”

The little boy’s pain due to his burns would have been severe and neighbours could hear “whimpering” in the night for around two weeks but they did not know the source, Mr Wright said.

Jurors heard that there was no evidence that Dwelaniyah had choked to death, and while a bap was present, there had been no obstruction of his airway.

At the time of his collapse, the little boy had suffered a fatal head injury, which had caused damage to both his brain and eyes and suggested that he had been violently shaken and had made impact with an object.

Forensic pathologists also discovered evidence of an older and healing injury to his brain, which is believed to have been caused two days previously.

“The death of Dwelaniyah was not an accident, but the end point in a series of violent and cruel acts perpetrated against him by his mother Christina Robinson, Mr Wright said. “She injured him, she neglected to treat the injuries she inflicted upon him and then she murdered him.”

Robinson, of Bracken Court, has denied his murder and a separate alleged offence of child cruelty.

The child cruelty charge relates to the period between September 30 and the youngster’s death, with Robsinon accused of assaulting, ill-treating, neglecting or exposing him “in a manner likely to cause Dwelaniyah Robinson unnecessary suffering or injury to health”.

The trial continues.