UK

Murder accused mother says she caned three-year-old because the Bible allows it

Christina Robinson denies murdering her boy, Dwelaniyah, who collapsed at the family home in Durham after he was allegedly shaken violently.

Dwelaniyah Robinson, three, whose mother Christina denies his murder
Christina Robinson court case Dwelaniyah Robinson, three, whose mother Christina denies his murder (Family Handout/PA)

A mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son claims she used a bamboo cane on him because the Bible told her she could “chastise her child”, a court heard.

Christina Robinson, 30, who denies murdering her son Dwelaniyah and child cruelty, was accused by the prosecution of using the teachings of the Bible as a “moveable feast” after it emerged she was having an affair while her husband was away serving with the RAF.

She called the emergency services to the family home in Bracken Court, Durham, in November 2022, and claimed her son had gone limp while eating a cheese bun.

But Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court that Dwelaniyah had suffered a serious, fatal head injury after being shaken violently by his mother.

She was pregnant at the time having used a sperm donor, while also dating a man she met online.

Jurors were shown body-worn footage of the scene at the house while paramedics tried to save the boy.

Robinson was asked why her son was heavily bandaged on his legs and she said he had hurt himself in the shower, but she had not thought he needed hospital treatment.

The prosecution said the burns which covered up to 20% of his body would have caused excruciating pain for several weeks prior to his death, having been forcibly and deliberately scalded in the bath.

Neighbours heard whimpering at night but did not know the source of the sound, the prosecution said.

Dwelaniyah, whose heart had stopped beating, was rushed to hospital but he could not be saved.

Bruises on his little body showed he had been hit with a cylindrical object.

Tests on a broken bamboo cane found in the house showed traces of his blood and skin, the court heard.

Mr Wright told jurors: “In this case the little boy had been repeatedly beaten with a bamboo cane by his mother.

“A cane stained with his blood and with his body tissue attached to it was recovered from the family home.

“The defendant admits that she hit him with a weapon but says that she was allowed to do so because the Bible tells her that she should chastise her child.”

A post mortem revealed he had been the victim of a series of assaults and had sustained a number of non-accidental injuries, the jury was told.

Mr Wright said: “In other words, somebody had been deliberately hurting this little boy and had been doing so over a period of time.

“That person was his mother, the defendant Christina Robinson.”

Her husband, Dwelaniyah’s father, was serving RAF man Gabriel Adu-Appau who was working at RAF Halton near Aylesbury and was away from the family home when his son was repeatedly injured.

His wife was using a sperm donor to try to conceive and, in October 2022, had also made contact with a man named Chisom Innocent Onoja using a dating app, the court heard.

Mr Wright said that when she became pregnant she was in regular contact with health professionals, although she was not willing to get treatment for her son’s injuries.

Also, Mr Wright told jurors: “The defendant now asserts that beating a child with a cane so that she drew blood was consistent with her being an adherent of the teachings of the Bible.

“The rules of the Bible are something of a moveable feast for her.”

Mr Wright explained he was referring to Robinson’s decision to “take on another man while her husband is away in the RAF”.

The court was played WhatsApp voice messages between the defendant and her lover, in which she explained that typically one parent was stricter than the other, but her husband was not there.

“I have been both father and mother this whole time,” she told her online boyfriend.

“I have to split myself, I have to be really, really hard, but then I am the loving, caring one at the same time.”

She said when children get older, it becomes the role of the father “to do the ass-kicking”, Mr Wright explained.

Robinson added: “Roles in that sense change, but there will always be one that is kinder, not kinder, but one that is less strict than the other.

“It’s just how it is.

“When you have that balance in the house, the kids won’t be spoilt at all.”

In a separate message she told Mr Onoja her son was going to get “his ass kicked” for spilling her medication on the floor.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday.