Christopher and Charlotte Sheldon baby assault trial: 'Both parents capable of assaulting Ethan'
A PROSECUTION barrister has told a jury in a child cruelty trial that she could not say for certain whether one or both parents assaulted their baby.
Jo Martin, making her closing speech in the case of Christopher and Charlotte Sheldon, said determining who had left Ethan with broken bones and bruises was not an "open and shut case."
She told the jury at Plymouth Crown Court: "He suffered non-accidental injuries which were caused by one or other, or both, of these defendants.
"We would have preferred to say it is definitely Christopher Sheldon or Charlotte Sheldon or definitely both of them."
The jury has been told Ethan, then aged four months, was found with six broken bones and covered in bruises when a health visitor called at the family home.
He had three broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, a fractured shin and a broken big toe.
Doctors who examined him also found 20 bruises all over his body – and concluded that the injuries could not have been caused accidentally, the trial was told.
But Miss Martin said it was "blatantly obvious" that each was guilty of neglecting Ethan in failing to get medical treatment for their son in the first four months of his life.
She said the distress caused by his broken bones would have been evident to any full-time carer.
Miss Martin said both parents had told lies and were "perfectly capable" of assaulting Ethan, either together or independently.
Christopher Sheldon, aged 32, of Bridgetown, Totnes, and 24-year-old Charlotte Sheldon, of Sefton Avenue, Lipson, each deny two charges.
Each is accused of "ill-treating or assaulting" Ethan between his birth in May 2010 and that October.
The pair are also charged with "neglect or exposing" him between the same dates.
Malcolm Clark, for Christopher Sheldon, said his estranged wife had cared for Ethan "95 per cent of the time".
He described her as a "Jekyll and Hyde" character who had created a "smokescreen" to hide her guilt.
Nick Lewin, for Charlotte Sheldon, said she had regularly taken Ethan to health appointments and had continued to breast feed him, which he said was "evidence of love".
He described Christopher Sheldon as "pathetic" and said he had been recommended for anger management by a psychiatrist.
Judge Paul Darlow is due to sum up today before the jury retires to consider its verdicts.