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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Child abuse case: ‘I was set up’ claim

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CHRISTOPHER NEWTON

A MAN accused of abusing a child claims he was set up, a court heard.

Christopher David Newton was arrested last year after doctors at Furness General Hospital discovered multiple injuries on a young child, including broken ribs, a broken leg and wrist, a brain injury and a broken foot.

At Preston Crown Court yesterday, Newton’s barrister, Mr Richard Vardon, presented the defence to a jury.

Newton claims it was others, and not him, who abused the child.

The court heard that on the night the child was taken to hospital by ambulance after it was found floppy and unresponsive, Newton had been the last person alone with the child.

Detective Constable Lyndsey Mitchell, of Barrow’s public protection unit, read extracts from Newton’s police interviews to the jury. When asked how he felt about the child’s injuries, Newton said in his interview: “I was a bit upset and just started crying. At the hospital when they said it was having x-rays I was upset and wondering what had happened, it was strange because no one had hurt (the child).”

Newton repeatedly denied harming the child when quizzed by detectives.

He said: “I don’t know anything about the injuries. (The child) has never been mistreated or hurt or anything by me. I can’t say how the injuries have happened, I really can’t.”

Police told Newton a witness had described him swinging the child round by its neck.

Newton replied: “Definitely not. I’d never do that, it never happened.”

The court was told that Newton claims he was set up by others involved.

The prosecution claimed Newton was a “violent bully” but he strongly denied the allegations.

Witnesses had given evidence at the trial and said he had been seen hurting a dog and other children.

Newton had told police during one of his 15 interviews: “I’ve never been cruel to anyone; a person or an animal, because I’m just not that kind of person.”

Newton, 23, formerly of Barrow but now living at Myrtle Road, Trafford, Manchester, denies wilful assault causing rib fractures to a child under 16, ill-treatment of a child under 16, child neglect and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

The trial was adjourned yesterday afternoon to allow Newton’s defence team to explore the possibility of introducing text messages as evidence, which Newton says contain proof he was “part of a conspiracy”.

The trial continues.

Newton is due to take to the stand today.

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