Parents of toddler who died with ‘catastrophic injuries’ had ‘stamped and beaten him with such ferocity his stomach split in two’
- Levi Blu Cassin, 22 months, died from ‘major internal injuries’, jury hears
- His small intestine had split in two as a result of ‘significant blows’
- He died in hospital after being found with no pulse at his mother’s home
- Parent’s Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31, are accused of murder
- Pair are also on trial at Birmingham Crown Court for child cruelty
- Court hears toddler’s injuries could not have been caused by accident
Little Levi Blu Cassin (pictured), 22 months, had suffered ‘major internal injuries’ as a result of ‘significant’ blows to his tiny body, the court heard
A mother and father murdered their 22-month-old son by stamping and beating him with such ferocity the child’s small intestine split in two, a court heard.
Toddler Levi Blu Cassin suffered ‘catastrophic’ internal injuries similar to someone who had been hit by a CAR or fallen from a three-storey building.
He died after being discovered by paramedics at his mum’s address in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, on the morning of February 20 last year.
His parents Danielle Cassin, 27, and Mark Piper, 31, are on trial at Birmingham Crown Court charged with murder and child cruelty.
The court heard Cassin phoned for an ambulance after her son stopped breathing at around 4.30am on the morning of his death.
Paramedics arrived at the couple’s flat to find Levi lying on the floor between the cot and his mother’s bed.
Prosecutor Timothy Raggatt QC said the child’s eyes were open but his lips had turned blue and he had no pulse.
He was rushed to hospital on blue lights but was pronounced dead at around 5.30am.
A post-mortem examination revealed Levi died from ‘major internal injuries’ – with his small intestine split in two – as a result of ‘significant’ blows to the body.
Mr Raggatt told the court the toddler could have been punched in an upright position several times.
But he said the more likely scenario was that Levi was lying on the floor and had been stamped on either once or repeatedly.
Mr Raggatt said the only two people who could have inflicted the fatal injuries were the boy’s parents.
Danielle Cassin, 27, pictured with her son Levi is on trial at Birmingham Crown Court accused of the murder of the 22 month old
The child’s father, Mark Piper, 31, pictured with the toddler, is also in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court
He added: ‘This case is about the death of a 22-month-old boy. It is the death of a child through quite extreme violence and is going to be quite emotive.
‘Danielle took a sheet to her mother’s the night before Levi died, and asked her mother if she thought the stains on the blanket could be Levi’s stomach lining.
‘Her mother said she thought the marks were just phlegm, and Danielle went home between 9-10pm, having only told her mother that Levi was ‘unwell’.
‘There is then a period of time in which only the two people sitting in the dock know what happened.
‘We do not know what happened in the latter part of that evening until the 999 call the next morning.
‘Both parents have persistently declined to tell the truth about what happened during that time.
‘But Levi died as a result of abdominal injuries. They were very significant, major internal injuries.
‘The totality of the injuries was so severe that they could not have happened by accident, they are the result of at least one very substantial blow to the abdomen and maybe more.
‘The injury was sustained at least six hours, and maybe up to 12 hours, before the 999 call was put in asking for assistance.
‘The defendants are charged jointly with murder because this has to have occurred as a result of cooperation between the two of them.
‘It was a joint enterprise. One person can do the damage, but if the other supports or connives then they are guilty too.
‘Levi died as the result of the intentional joint actions of both defendants.
‘Both parents are yet to tell the truth so we simply do not know why this happened, and we may never know.’
A post mortem revealed the tot had suffered an earlier abdominal injury that had started to heal around two weeks before his death.
Cassin dramatically left the dock in tears as the graphic details of Levi’s injuries were pointed out on a diagram to jurors.
Piper, of Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, and Cassin, of Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham, are also accused of neglect and causing or allowing the death of a child.
Cassin’s mother Angela broke down in tears as she told the jury how her daughter had visited her the day before ‘smiley happy’ Levi died.
She said: ‘She (Cassin) came round at about 9pm. I was in the living room, the telly was on and the children were in bed.
‘Danielle said that he had a stomach ache because he was vomiting.
‘She was rushed. She did not stay for a long time.
‘She had a screwed-up mattress cover with her. She asked me if it was stomach lining on it.
‘I know it was from a cot.
‘I said ‘don’t be so stupid’ because I have never heard of anyone bringing up stomach lining before.
‘Levi had been sick.
‘There was a patch of what looked like sick and a little blob of clear phlegm on the mattress.
‘I just said ‘make sure he drinks lots of liquid. There is a bug going around.’
‘The next I heard from her was about 5.30am on the phone, saying he was dead.’
‘I saw him dead in the hospital.
‘Levi was very much loved. He was a smiley, happy boy.’
The trial, due to last four weeks, continues.