John Cole, 40, denies accusation and instead claims Angharad Williamson, 30, shook her son
A stepfather accused of murdering a five-year-old boy threatened to kill him if the child’s mother ended their relationship, a court has heard.
John Cole, 40, is on trial with his partner Angharad Williamson, 30, and a 14-year-old boy who all deny murdering Logan Mwangi.
The child, also known as Logan Williamson, was found dead in the River Ogmore in Sarn, Bridgend, on 31 July last year with 56 external injuries.
Cole denied killing Logan or being violent and abusive to him and instead accused Williamson, his partner and the boy’s mother, of shaking him.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that in the week of Logan’s death, Cole and Williamson were shutting him in his bedroom away from the rest of the household as he had Covid-19.
Giving evidence, Cole told the jury Logan did not want to stay in his room and in the days before he died, he and Williamson had to repeatedly put him back there.
He also explained that if Logan was naughty, he would be punished by having to stand in the “naughty corner” in the hallway for five-minute intervals for throwing toys and jumping off the furniture.
Peter Rouch QC, defending Williamson, said Cole, who is 6ft 4in tall and weighs between 14 and 15 stone, allegedly “towered” over Logan in the hallway and said “The only thing he understands is pain” before hitting him twice in the stomach.
Cole denied he or the youth had hit Logan and instead claimed the couple rowed after Williamson had shaken the youngster and taken him back to his bedroom.
Mr Rouch said: “Did she say, ‘I’m sick of these rows and I’m going to leave you’ and you said, ‘If you do, I’ll kill him’, meaning Logan?”
The barrister said Williamson’s case was she went to bed on the night of Logan’s death until 5.30am after which time he was dead – meaning Cole or the youth were responsible.
Cole replied: “No. She ran out of the house when I told her to get her hands off Logan when she shook him.”
He told the jury he went to bed at about midnight and had left Logan alive with Williamson. But she was later woken by Williamson screaming hysterically and telling him she had heard Logan take his last breath.
Cole said he went into Logan’s bedroom, found him dead and began CPR, saying his “head was cocked back, his eyes were open and his knees were up to his chest”.
Asked why he did not call for an ambulance or the police, Cole said he “panicked”.
“I just panicked,” he told the court. “I woke up to Logan being dead and it threw me. I wasn’t thinking properly.”
Caroline Rees QC, prosecuting, suggested Logan was treated like a “prisoner” as he was confined to his bedroom in the days leading up to his death and made to face the wall when food was delivered to him.
Asked how he thought that made the youngster feel, Cole replied: “We were trying our best we possibly could.”
Cole has admitting perverting the course of justice for dumping the boy’s body, but denies murder.
He is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court alongside Williamson and a 14-year-old boy who cannot be named because of his age.
The trial continues.
Additional reporting by Press Association