…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
The jury has retired to consider their verdicts in the trial of a mother and her partner accused of murdering her nine-year-old son.
Carla Scott and Dirk Howell are facing charges related to the death of Alfie Steele, who prosecutors allege was subjected to severe physical abuse and held down in a bath as part of a cruel and sinister regime of correction.
Denials and Allegations of Abuse
Both Carla Scott and Dirk Howell have denied the allegations against them.
They told the jurors at Coventry Crown Court that Alfie was not “dunked” in a bath as a form of punishment prior to his death.
Scott, aged 35, claimed she did not physically harm Alfie, while Howell, aged 41, denied beating the boy or attempting to cover up any wrongdoing.
Howell also asserted that he performed CPR in an attempt to revive the child.
Prosecution’s Case and Evidence
During the trial, prosecutor Michelle Heeley KC outlined the prosecution’s case, claiming that Scott and Howell believed it was acceptable to physically discipline Alfie using items like belts and heavy-duty flip flops.
The prosecution argued that the boy had suffered approximately 50 injuries all over his body, with only a few likely to be attributed to normal childhood accidents.
Charges and Pleas
Dirk Howell, residing in Princip Street, Birmingham, is facing charges of murder, manslaughter, and causing or allowing the death of Alfie.
He denies all the allegations against him.
Carla Scott, living in Vashon Drive, Droitwich, is also charged with murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing the death of Alfie, and child cruelty offenses.
She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Deliberations and Jury Instructions
Before sending the jury out to deliberate, Mr. Justice Wall reminded them of the gravity of the case and emphasized that there was no time pressure for reaching verdicts.
He encouraged the jurors to take as much time as they needed to carefully consider the evidence and arrive at the right verdicts based on the evidence they found credible.
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