Foster mum found guilty of murdering Leiland-James Corkill, 1, who she wanted to adopt

17 May 2022, 15:40 | Updated: 17 May 2022, 16:55

Castle was convicted at Preston Crown Court
Castle was convicted at Preston Crown Court. Picture: Google Maps

By Will Taylor

A 38-year-old woman has been found guilty of murdering one-year-old Leiland-James Corkill.

Laura Castle, 38, had wanted to adopt the baby. She was also found guilty of one charge of child cruelty at Preston Crown Court.

The baby had been placed with Castle and her husband, Scott Castle, 35, by authorities in Cumbria just five months before his death.

He suffered catastrophic head injuries, and hospital medics raised fears they were so bad they did not match how Laura Castle said he received them at their home in Barrow.

Instead, she had claimed Leiland-James had fallen from a sofa, hurt his head and struggled to breathe. She called for paramedics on the morning of January 6 last year.

Read more: Just 3% of child cruelty reports lead to court as Star Hobson's family call for change

Leiland-James died the next day.

Castle continued to claim the death was an accident that happened as her night shift worker husband slept.

But after a jury was sworn in for her trial at Preston Crown Court last month, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

She then claimed she had shaken the one-year-old after he did not stop crying at breakfast, and then his head hit the sofa before he fell from her knee to the floor.

Read more: Star Hobson murder: Fury over delayed social services review as answers 'desperately needed'

Medical experts said the amount of force needed to cause Leiland-James' injuries would have been "severe", likely a combination of shaking and impact with a solid surface.

Prosecutor Michael Brady QC said she killed him after losing her temper, suggesting the back of his head was smashed against a piece of furniture.

Laura Castle, a former care worker, was convicted of murdering him on Tuesday.

Scott Castle, a machinist at defence firm BAE Systems, was found not guilty of allowing Leiland-James' death and was also cleared of child cruelty.

He said he never had any concerns that anything bad was going to happen with the boy and he trusted his wife.

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