A foster mother who battered to death a baby boy recorded herself pulling faces while a child lay crying in a hospital bed, it emerged today.
New footage shows convicted killer Laura Castle, 38, making the strange facial expressions in hospital.
Castle was found guilty of murdering 13-month-old Leiland-James Corkill last week after a court heard she had ‘leathered’ the child, who suffered fatal head injuries.
In other videos, Leiland-James is heard to sob uncontrollably while Castle attempts to ‘shush’ him. In further footage, she wipes away his tears as he sits in a baby bouncer.
The toddler had been placed in the care of Castle and her husband, Scott, 35, in August 2020.
But five months later, on January 6, 2021, paramedics found the tot unresponsive and floppy when they attended the couple’s home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Leiland-James died the following day after doctors found that his heart wasn’t beating and he had a head injury, which Laura Castle said he sustained by falling from a sofa.
But the court heard how she had then searched online for what might cause a bleed on the brain while the tot lay in hospital, as her story began to unravel.
And later a post-mortem finding confirmed that he had suffered a traumatic head injury, which wasn’t caused by accident.
During her trial at Preston Crown Court, the foster mum pleaded guilty to manslaughter, after admitting that she shook the baby so that he was ‘stop crying.’
But texts shared between Laura Castle and her husband revealed that she had referred to Leiland-James as a ‘proper n*bhead’, a ‘d**k’ and a s**t bag’.
She also admitted to ‘smacking’ the child in the messages.
In one text she wrote: ‘I honestly really don’t like him lately, hes an absolute moaning winge bag and I totally regret doin this [sic].
‘I’m goin to lose my mind. He just p****s me off all the time, can never just have a nice day or night ever.
‘Although I need to stop smacking him cos if I start I’ll not stop at one point and it’s not getting us anywhere and then I feel bad.’
The court also heard that a social worker had reported concerns about the foster mum after she had branded the baby ‘lazy’ and ‘big’.
A review then took place where officials told the couple they would not support permanently placing Leiland-James with them unless they undertook therapeutic work.
But the court heard the couple instead ploughed ahead with the adoption proceedings.
The couple exchanged further texts on September 25, 2020, with Laura telling her husband she had ‘leathered’ Leiland-James again as she was at her ‘wits end’.
She added: ‘I’m just an abusive parent so it seems.’
A jury later found Laura Castle guilty of murdering Leiland-James, with a judge set to determine her sentence at a later date, while Scott Castle was acquitted.
And following the verdict, Joanne Close, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North, called former foster mum ‘self-centred, abusive and violent’.
She said: ‘His birth mother believed he would be safe and have a good life.
‘His foster parents cared for and loved him for eight months; they described him as a beautiful little boy with the most contagious laugh.
‘But his life was cruelly cut short by the actions of Laura Castle; she was self-centred, abusive and violent and unfit to provide a home to this vulnerable child.
‘The Crown Prosecution Service worked very closely with Cumbria Police to build the strongest possible case to secure justice for Leiland-James.
‘Laura Castle was given no option but to admit at the start of the trial that she had caused his death. The jury had the evidence they needed to find her guilty of his murder.
‘I hope today’s conviction provide some comfort to those that loved Leiland-James. My thoughts are with them.’