Wicked Durham mum who scalded, caned and murdered three-year-old son jailed for life

Christina Robinson, convicted of murdering her three-year-old son
-Credit: (Image: Northumbria Police)

Child murderer Christina Robinson will spend at least 25 years behind bars for the brutal killing of her three-year-old son.

The wicked mother subjected little Dwelaniyah to a campaign of shocking cruelty during which she deliberated submerged him in scalding water as punishment for soiling himself during toilet training, repeatedly hit him with a bamboo cane for trivial disobedience - claiming she was following the Bible - then left him with a fatal brain injury after shaking him at their home in Ushaw Moor, County Durham. He had around 70 injuries at the time of his death.

The 30-year-old, convicted of murder and four child cruelty charges in March but who still protests her innocence, has now been jailed for life at Newcastle Crown Court and was told she must serve a minimum of 25 years in jail before she has any chance of parole.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Garnham said that on October 19 2022 Robinson, who was looking after her two sons alone as her husband was away doing RAF training, discovered Dwelaniyah, who was undergoing toilet training, had soiled himself. The judge said Robinson ran a bath of extremely hot water and did not add any cold water, as she knew she needed do for the water to be a suitable temperature to wash in.

He added: “Instead you plunged your naked three-year-old son into the scalding hot water and held him down in the water for long enough to cause the dreadful injuries we saw in the photographs.

Dwelaniyah Robinson
Dwelaniyah Robinson -Credit:Northumbria Police

“You must have known the water was extremely hot. That must have been obvious as you ran the water. But, in any event, any decent parent would always check the temperature of the water before putting their child into it and would never press him down into the hot water, as I find you did.

“I find as a fact you were angry with Dwelaniyah, whether because of the soiling or some other reason and you put him in that scalding hot water deliberately to punish him. The result was the appalling burns of which we have seen images.

“Unsurprisingly, he screamed out in pain from the moment he was immersed in the hot water.” The burns covered almost 20% of his body, including his buttocks, scrotum and penis, the back of his thighs and the back of his calves.

The judge said the burns would have been “intensely painful” at the time and in the days that followed.

He added that Robinson did not seek proper medical help because she was more worried about the consequences of reporting it. She instead bought medical supplies online which were “wholly inadequate”.

The judge said Robinson was following religious teachings of a group known at the "Black Hebrew Israelites" at the time and listed to sermons and lectures on YouTube which led her to think, at the time, it was appropriate to punish Dwelaniyah for "objectively trivial" matters by hitting him with a bamboo cane, causing further injuries.

Justice Garnham said: “Those injuries were deliberately inflicted at a time when Dwelaniyah was already seriously injured from the burns I’ve described.

“What must have gone through the mind of that little boy, being beaten by a cane by his mother despite those terrible burns, does not bear thinking about.”

The judge said against that background of cruelty, which also including her leaving him home alone with his little brother, Robinson murdered her son on November 5 by shaking him "forcefully and repeatedly", possibly striking his head against an object, causing an injury to his brain, from which he died within a few hours

He said while he cannot be sure she intended to kill him, she did intend to cause him serious harm.

The judge added: “There is no doubt that your mistreatment of your son, over the 17 days leading up to his death, was appalling in the highest degree.”

He said the “callousness” of her behaviour was shown in text messages to her boyfriend a few days after the burns were inflicted, when she discovered he had vomited after getting access to some of her tablets.

She told her boyfriend Dwelaniyah’s behaviour deserved a “major ass kicking”. When the boyfriend told her he was a child and that she should just tell him not to do it again, her reply included: “He is old enough to know better. So he'll pay.”

When urged to be gentle, the judge said her reply was "chilling" when she said: “He will get what he deserves, no more, no less.”

Robinson continues to deny the offences and when asked to make submissions on her own behalf, said: “I pray for the day when justice is served”. She added: “I didn’t kill my child in any way, however the prosecution chooses to say it, whichever way anyone wants to imagine it. I will forever stand by it."

After the case, NSPCC campaigns manager Helen Westerman said: "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."