Father accused of killing three-month-old baby denies hurting child

Court news
Court news

The father of a three-month-old baby who died after allegedly being shaken and immersed in water by his parents has denied hurting the child.

Ah'Kiell Walker was naked, cold and wet when paramedics arrived at his family home in Archdeacon Street, Gloucester, on July 30 2016.

The baby was so cold that medics were unable to record a temperature, and he was taking just four breaths per minute.

He was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and then transferred to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, where he died the following day.

Bristol Crown Court has heard Ah'Kiell had suffered brain injuries potentially caused by shaking and may have been immersed in water.

A pathologist also found four older fractures to his ribs and a fracture to his shoulder.

His parents, Hannah Henry, 22, and Alistair Walker, 27, deny manslaughter, causing or allowing the death of a child, and cruelty to a person aged under 16.

Jemi Akin-Olugbade, defending Walker, asked him: "Did you hurt the child?"

Walker replied: "Never, man."

Mr Akin-Olugbade asked his client: "Did you know your child needed protecting from anyone or anything?"

Walker replied: "Never."

Mr Akin-Olugbade asked: "If you had done, what would you have done?"

Walker replied: "Protected him."

The barrister said the prosecution case was that four to eight weeks before Ah'Kiell's death, Walker had grabbed his son and squeezed him, breaking his ribs.

Walker replied: "I don't personally believe that. If I had known he had broken his ribs I would have taken him to the hospital."

Mr Akin-Olugbade said the prosecution case was that while Ah'Kiell was unconscious, Walker force-fed him water.

"I loved him to bits. I loved her (Hannah Henry) as well," Walker said.

The defendant told the court that on the morning Ah'Kiell collapsed he had picked him up out of his moses basket.

"He did look a bit pale. I picked him up and he didn't feel the same," he told the jury.

"We were trying to wake him up and putting water on his face. I said to splash him with water. Hannah splashed him with water. It was done between the both of us. I didn't splash him, Hannah did."

Walker told the court that "red frothy stuff" came out of his son's nose and he took him to the bathroom to clean him up and Henry dialled 999.

He said the first paramedic who arrived at their home got out a "t-shaped thing" to put into Ah'Kiell's mouth.

"I just wanted him to get better quickly," he said.

"He tried to put it in, he kind of forced it in and he realised it wasn't the right size, and that's when more of the stuff came out and he changed it."

Walker said a female paramedic joined her colleague and told the jury they were "both panicking".

After being arrested, Walker was told by doctors that they were going to switch off Ah'Kiell's life support as there was nothing further they could do.

"I was crying like a little baby," Walker said.

"I believed he was still alive because I saw his finger twitching but I didn't want them to switch it off. I kept repeating: 'Is he dead?'"

Ah'Kiell was pronounced dead at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children at 1.44pm on July 31.

A post-mortem examination found his death was caused by a lack of oxygen to his brain.

Henry, of Tuffley, Gloucestershire, and Walker, of Lansdowne Green, south London, deny all the charges against them.

The trial continues.