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Baby Eli death trial: Danny Shepherd "didn't know" how five-month-old Eli Cox suffered serious head injuries

A man accused with his girlfriend of causing the death of her young baby maintained in police interviews he had not harmed the child in any way.

Asked how five-month-old Eli’s serious head injuries happened, Danny Shepherd replied: “I don’t know, honestly.”

The 25-year-old said his partner, mother-of-nine Kathy Cox, was with her son all morning while he was out shopping and then on the school run.

Danny Shepherd and Katherine Cox. Picture: Andy Payton.
Danny Shepherd and Katherine Cox. Picture: Andy Payton.

When he returned, he said, Eli was sleeping having been vomiting a lot.

Asked how often he vomited, he said: “Every time we feed him, give him a feed and then five minutes later he was just vomiting.”

Soon after 5pm he took Eli upstairs to bed at their home in Lapwing Close in Minster, Sheppey. He was crying. He put him in his cot and he was moving a lot.

“Then I just like looked down and he was going blue, and then like froth and that was coming out of his mouth,” he said.

"I didn’t know what to do so I just picked him up and shouted out ‘Kath ring an ambulance’, and she said, ‘Why? What’s going on?’ and I said, ‘Just ring them’.

“Then she come running up the stairs and he was just, went all floppy and...then obviously I tried giving him mouth to mouth cos I didn’t know what was going on and all froth and that, and he was trying to cough or something, so I tried pushing all the froth and that out of his mouth and his nose and so he could breathe and then another lady come running in about five minutes later, not even five minutes, a couple of minutes later and she went ‘Pass him here and I’ll take over’.

“Then she took over, and then somebody else came in and took over and then somebody else, and they were all trying to see what was wrong with him, but none of us could work out what it was. That was what actually happened, and then as soon as, like obviously the ambulance man came and he come running up the stairs, just picked the baby up and just ran with him into the ambulance,”

Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd have been charged with two counts of causing or allowing the death of a child, and one count of possession of a class B drug
Katherine Cox and Danny Shepherd have been charged with two counts of causing or allowing the death of a child, and one count of possession of a class B drug

Maidstone Crown Court has heard from a medical expert that 28 fractures to 19 bones in Eli’s body were consistent with being “twisted, pulled, crushed and bent in half’”.

Cox, 33, and Shepherd, 25, now both living in Faversham, deny causing or allowing the death of a child and causing or allowing physical harm to a child, who died from a “catastrophic” brain injury.

They also deny possessing the Class B drug amphetamine. Eli was said to have been exposed to that drug as well as cocaine.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight said Eli suffered extensive brain damage consistent with shaking and caused by a prolonged period of insufficient oxygen to the brain.

The effect of the brain damage would have been “immediate and obvious”.

Miss Knight said it was suggested the injuries were inflicted on many different occasions leading up to the child’s death.

His final collapse came on April 13 last year and he died two weeks later.

Shepherd demonstrated with a model baby how he patted Eli’s back to make sure he was not choking.

Cox came into the room and asked what was going on. Shepherd told her Eli was not breathing and she ran downstairs screaming.

Shepherd claimed he had never lost his temper with Eli and had not seen Cox lose her temper with him.

Asked about drugs, he said he did not use them but Cox smoked cannabis in the garden. She never did so in the house, he said.

He told an officer they were unlikely to find any drugs in the house or shed.

The trial continues.

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