Pair 'had second thoughts on boy'

Relates to:
Date: 2004-11-23
Source: BBC

A couple accused of killing a boy they were hoping to adopt told social services they were unsure he was the child they had in mind, a court heard.

Christian Blewitt, three, was placed with Ian and Angela Gay of Halesowen, West Midlands. He died in December 2002 of brain injuries and salt poisoning.

Worcester Crown Court heard that a social worker received a phone call of complaint on 8 November from Mr Gay.

The couple both deny murder and one count of child cruelty.

Mr Gay, 37, and Mrs Gay, 38, of Lutley Lane, Hayley Green, are accused of feeding Christian Blewitt three to four teaspoons of salt as a punishment and injuring his brain by shaking him, or hitting his head off a surface.

The court heard the toddler, who died in Birmingham Children's Hospital, had been placed with the couple together with his younger brother and sister in November 2002.

Social worker Gillian Jones from Sandwell Council, who was overseeing the adoption, told the court the couple had told her they had not expected Christian to present the difficulties he did.

"He (Mr Gay) was saying that Christian wasn't functioning without (his brother)," she said.

"That (his brother) was sleeping during the day and Christian wasn't able to communicate with people without (his brother) being there"

She added: "They were not sure he (Christian) was actually the child they had in mind."

Effects of neglect

After the initial phone call from Mr Gay, the couple were said to have reported that the placement had been going "really well".

Ms Jones visited the couple, who were living in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, at the time, to discuss their concerns.

Julia Macur QC, prosecuting, asked Ms Jones whether the issue of removing Christian from the placement had arisen.

Ms Jones said she had reinforced the point that the placement was "of all three children or none" because of the close relationship between Christian and his brother.

She left a video with the couple about the effects of neglect on children and said they phoned the next day to apologise, saying they felt "terrible" they had not given the child a chance.

Hands-on experience

Ms Jones told the court that during the vetting process, concerns were raised about the couple's lack of experience with children and they were given the chance to gain hands-on experience.

Mr Gay, who was to be the main carer, made several visits to a nursery to learn from foster carer Janet Capper while Mrs Gay made one visit.

Mrs Capper expressed her concerns to social worker Ms Jones, who reminded the couple of the extra care and understanding Christian would need because of the neglect he had experienced.

Ms Jones said she was "angry" the couple went back on assurances that Mrs Gay would take at least three months off work to help her husband look after the children.

She was due to meet the couple on 10 December but the toddler was critically ill in hospital.

The case continues.


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