Accused regrets 'vegetable' slur

Relates to:
Date: 2004-12-17
Source: BBC

A house husband accused of murdering a boy he and his wife were hoping to adopt said he regrets calling the child "a vegetable" weeks before he died.
Ian and Angela Gay, of Halesowen, are accused of poisoning three-year-old Christian Blewitt with salt and causing him a head injury from which he died.

Mr Gay, 37, gave evidence in his defence for the first time on Friday at Worcester Crown Court.

The couple deny murder or manslaughter and one count of child cruelty.

'Zombie' slur

The court heard Christian had been placed with the couple as prospective parents, together with his younger brother and sister, in November 2002.

Mr Gay told the jury: "I used words which I regret.

"I think I called him brainless. I think I called him a vegetable perhaps, I'm not sure. And I think I might have called him a zombie."

Mr Gay told the jury he and his wife, both from Lutley Lane, Hayley Green, had become increasingly concerned about the child's behaviour and called Sandwell social services for advice.

The defendant, who worked as an electrical engineer before taking up domestic duties full-time, described how Christian withdrew into himself whenever his younger brother was not around.

Blunt force

He said he had rung the social worker assigned to their case for reassurance.

Julia Macur QC, prosecuting, told the court previously that Christian was admitted to Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley just weeks after the boy was placed with the couple suffering salt poisoning and head injuries.

He was transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital where he died.

The jury was told 11 separate areas of bruising were found on the top of Christian's head during a post-mortem examination and that a pathologist concluded he had died from blunt force trauma.

Ms Macur said that during police interviews, the couple had described finding Christian comatose in his bedroom where he had been left after throwing a plate of food to the floor during lunch.

The case continues.

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