Mum ‘murdered her 6-week-old boy by shaking him so hard

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A mum allegedly murdered her six-week-old son by shaking him so hard he suffered catastrophic brain injuries.

Chelsea Cuthbertson, 28, called for an ambulance and said son Malakai Watts was not breathing – but doctors discovered his cardiac arrest was most likely allegedly caused by a ‘non-accidental injury’.

He was rushed 10 miles from her flat in Hythe, Hampshire, to Southampton General Hospital on February 2, 2019 but died four days later after he was taken off life support.

Malakai was ‘grey from head to toe’ when police arrived at the two-bedroom flat, a jury was told.

Today, Cuthbertson, who denies murder, appeared at Winchester Crown Court, Hants, where prosecutor Sally Howes QC explained the cause of death was recorded as ‘head injury’.

Examinations also revealed he had suffered eight rib fractures.

Ms Howes said: “He was born one of twins on December 25, 2018, the son of defendant Chelsea Cuthbertson and her partner Dell Watts.

“Following a cardio respiratory collapse on February 2, 2019, Malakai was taken by ambulance to Southampton General Hospital. Following an initial assessment he was placed on the paediatric intensive care unit.

“On February 6, 2019, when following the decision to withdraw life support, he died. An extensive post-mortem investigation identified findings consistent with traumatic head injury.

“The key mechanism was some form of shaking, possibly with some form of impact.

“The post mortem investigation also identified eight rib fractures, one of which is clearly older than all the others and therefore must have been sustained on an earlier occasion.”
The court heard Cuthbertson met Mr Watts in August 2014 and they had a daughter together in February 2016, following which they moved into the flat in Hythe.

Ms Howes added: “Both Chelsea Cuthbertson and Dell Watts were habitual users of cannabis and also took cocaine on a less frequent basis.”

She explained that Mr Watts moved out due to ‘friction’ in their ‘on and off’ relationship, but returned home when the twins were born several weeks premature, with an expected due date of February 5, 2019.

The court heard that once at hospital Malakai had an emergency ultrasound and a CT scan which found ‘catastrophic signs of brain injury’.

Ms Howes said it was the opinion of doctors his physical injuries meant non-accidental injury was ‘the most likely cause of his cardiac arrest’.

The trial continues.

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