Mother accused of murder used cane on toddler after hearing scriptures online

A mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son told a jury how she hit him with a bamboo cane to punish him for messing around with his food after she heard religious instruction online.

Christina Robinson, 30, who denies murder and child neglect following the death of her son Dwelaniyah at the family home, said she was following Bible quotes she had seen on YouTube.

The defendant is a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelites religion which follows the teachings of the Old and New Testament and the Apocrypha, and which says that they are a Tribe of Israel who were displaced to Africa then sold into slavery.

Christina Robinson court case
Christina Robinson, who denies murdering her son, seen here talking to a police officer as paramedics worked to save the boy’s life (CPS/PA)

She said the severe burns he suffered on up to 20% of his body were caused accidentally in the shower when she was washing him, on October 19 2022.

The prosecution alleged these burns, which she did not get treated by medics, were caused deliberately.

The mother told Newcastle Crown Court she did use a piece of garden cane on him on the day he died – November 5 2022 – some hours before she claimed he went limp and collapsed while eating.

Robinson explained she had been listening and watching religious teachings online about chastisement.

“They had quoted certain scriptures which did promote using the rod for correction, so it stemmed from there,” she said.

Newcastle Crown Court
The mother is currently on trial at Newcastle Crown Court (Hugh Macknight/PA)

Robinson said she was a “complete beginner” as a follower of the religion then and she “did not have the understanding”.

She added: “Honestly, I thought I was doing the right thing. I was happy and eager to jump into something, it felt like I belonged, but I just got it wrong.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, I thought I was doing it right. I just really wanted to be obedient to God and I thought this was part of it.”

Robinson said she now realised she was “misguided” then.

“I have had the opportunity to get into the Bible more and understand and get to know God more – my relationship with Him is great.

Christina Robinson court case
Robinson, 30, denies violently shaking Dwelaniyah or throwing him forcefully at the family home in Bracken Court, Ushaw Moor, Durham (CPS/PA)

She denied violently shaking Dwelaniyah or throwing him forcefully, saying she was pregnant at the time, adding: “I didn’t have any energy that day, my iron levels were low.”

She agreed with Richard Wright KC, prosecuting, when he said she did not use the cane on the little boy in anger, and she explained: “I thought I was doing the right thing after hearing the scriptures which promoted the use of a rod for correction.”

She also told jurors she intended to have a large family with “double figure” children and had looked to use a sperm donor to get pregnant after the break-up of her marriage.

Robinson explained how her son was accidentally scalded when she washed him in the shower when the water suddenly became hot.

She explained she did not realise he was getting burned by the hot water as he normally cried when he was showered.

Robinson did not seek medical attention for the burns, saying she treated them herself in the following days, even when she realised he was badly hurt.

She told jurors: “I already felt ashamed at the time when it happened, I didn’t mean to do this to him.

“As it got worse and worse, it just looked really bad. I knew it would look really bad.”

Earlier, she referred to how she had changed since the break-up of her marriage and the death of her son, having previously “always been the happy, smiling one”.

Robinson, originally from Tamworth, Staffordshire, said: “This is what you see now, there’s nothing there, it’s not reaching my face any more, I’m just numb.”

The trial continues.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –