South East Wales

Finley Thomas: Mother admits cruelty to young person

Finley Thomas Image copyright Wales News Service

A mother from Rhondda Cynon Taff has admitted causing or allowing cruelty towards her late 17-month-old son.

Chloe Thomas, 25, originally denied neglecting Finley, who was found with "catastrophic" injuries at his home near Tonypandy in September 2014.

But she changed her plea at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday.

Her boyfriend Sean Buckley, 28, denies murdering Finley and cruelty to a young person under 16.

Thomas was visibly upset and shaking in the dock as she pleaded guilty, before Mr Buckley then took to the stand.

Describing the day Finley died, Mr Buckley said he had just returned home and was upstairs when he heard a "banging noise".

Asked by Vincent Coughlin QC, defending, where Finley was, he replied while crying: "At the bottom of the stairs.

"I picked Finley up under his arms, I held him to eye level, and his eye were rolling in the back of his head.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Chloe Thomas admitted cruelty to a young person under 16

"I tried to stand him on the floor and he just flopped over.

"I give him a little wobble and tried to rouse him but.... I don't know how to explain... I took him into the living room and sat him on the settee and I just starting panicking."

He said he then grabbed his phone, called Thomas and told her to "come over, quick, quick, quick".

The evidence suggested Finley's injuries "could well have been caused by gripping in an inappropriate way", Mr Coughlin told the court.

Mr Buckley said he could never recall gripping Finley and denied doing anything that could have caused bleeding on his brain three to five days before his death.

Earlier on Wednesday, the court heard Mr Buckley been diagnosed with ADHD, epilepsy and bipolar disorder and that Thomas was managing his prescription for his mental health conditions.

Mr Buckley told the court he regularly smoked cannabis and had taken cocaine in the past, but denied there was any "after-effect" and that he "rarely" drank alcohol.


Describing Finley as "lovely", he explained his two dogs "fitted in well" with Thomas and her son at their home and he never reacted badly towards the toddler.

He said he had "heard about" Finley having two or three other falls down the stairs from Thomas, although he had never been there at the time.

"What was your reaction to being told about it?" Mr Coughlin asked.

"I was a bit worried about it," he replied, telling the court that Thomas was "struggling" at being a mother.

"She was always calling me; she was depressed," he said.

Traces of cannabis and cocaine were found in Finley's body after he died, but Mr Buckley denied taking illegal drugs in front of the toddler or exposing him to the substances.

The trial continues.

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