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Alfie Philips: Toddler died after ‘violent’ discipline from mother and her partner, court hears | UK News


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An 18-month-old boy died after “aggressive and violent discipline” at the hands of his mother and her former partner, a court has heard.

Alfie Philips had 70 visible injuries when he died in a caravan in Hernhill, near Faversham, in Kent, in November 2020, a jury was told.

The boy’s mother Sian Hedges, 27, of Yelverton, Devon, and her partner at the time, Jack Benham, 35, are on trial for his murder.

Hedges was seen crying in court as details of Alfie’s injuries were read aloud.

Jurors heard Alfie had a “myriad of bruises” and other marks and there was evidence of fractures to his ribs, arms and leg.

There were also signs of smothering to his lips and mouth, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Traces of cocaine were found in Alfie’s blood and urine samples, and doctors examining him suggested it could have been passive inhalation of crack cocaine or from external contact with the drug.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight KC said that Hedges and Benham admitted to taking cocaine the night Alfie died, and both had been drinking whiskey and coke while he slept.

A month before the baby’s death, the pair exchanged text messages, in which Benham appeared to suggest Hedges should bite her son after he had bitten him, which she said she didn’t want to do.

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In other messages, Benham, who is not Alfie’s father, called the youngster a “cry baby” and “your little sod”, saying he was going to “poke him in the ear” after he turned off the heater in his caravan.

Ms Knight said the defendants had “both agreed in meting out some sort of aggressive, violent ‘discipline’ to Alfie” on the night of the 27th to the 28th, which “resulted in his death”, adding that they were in the caravan together all night.

Alfie was described as blue and floppy when he was carried out of the caravan on 28 November 2020.

He was pronounced dead at Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother hospital in Margate at 12.35pm.

Ms Knight said that a post-mortem found that Alfie’s death came about by “unnatural means as a result of the action of another or others”.

Benham said Hedges would never have hurt the child, and in police interviews said he would “deserve the noose” if he had caused his death.

Both Benham and Hedges denied wrongdoing to police but could not explain how Alfie got his injuries, saying they remembered previous occasions where he had fallen over.

The trial continues.

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Written by: radioroxi

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