Cornwall

Eve Leatherland: 'Poisoned toddler had rigor mortis'

Eve Leatherland Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Eve Leatherland had a number of injuries and fatal amounts of codeine were found in her system, the court was told

A toddler who was found beaten and poisoned might have died hours before her mother rang 999, a court has heard.

Eve Leatherland's arms, legs and mouth were stiff when paramedics arrived at the house a few minutes after her mother rang 999 in October 2017.

The prosecution says the 22-month-old was assaulted at least twice before being given a lethal dose of codeine.

Her mother Abigail Leatherland and her mother's new boyfriend Thomas Curd deny murdering Eve in Liskeard, Cornwall.

Hysterical reaction

Paramedics told Truro Crown Court Eve had no heart beat and was not breathing when they arrived.

In a statement the first five paramedics to respond to the call out on 5 October said they found Ms Leatherland crying outside the house and "borderline hysterical" while Eve was lying on her back wearing only red patterned leggings and stripy socks.

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Ms Leatherland, 26, dialled 999 at 12:44 BST saying Mr Curd, 31, had "just been to check" on Eve and discovered her not breathing.

The court heard the paramedics who arrived two minutes later questioned this version of events after discovering that Eve's arms, legs and mouth appeared stiff.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Abigail Leatherland and Thomas Curd deny murdering 22-month-old Eve

Paramedic Neil Jones said: "I said to my colleague Adrian she feels a little bit stiff.

"We were then a little bit concerned over the time when Eve may have gone into cardiac arrest ... there might be potential for rigor mortis setting in."

Colleague Daniel Kellow said Eve's arms were in a "bent position", her "whole leg moved rather than bending at the knee" and her jaw was "too rigid" for one of the procedures.

Sean Brunton QC previously told the court Eve had "almost certainly" been dead for "several hours" by the time of the 999 call.

Both defendants deny murder and the alternative charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

They also deny causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial continues.

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