'I didn't hurt my child' - mother tells murder jury
11:20am Thursday 10th July 2014 in News
A MOTHER whose former boyfriend is on trial accused of murdering her newborn son has told a jury of her confidence she did not accidentally injure her child when rushing to get ready for a night out.
Alfie Sullock died aged just six weeks after suffering severe brain injuries.
Michael John Pearce is on trial at Newport Crown Court where he denies murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.
The 33-year-old had been babysitting after girlfriend Donna Sullock went out for her first night out after giving birth.
Prosecutors say Pearce, who was home alone with the baby that night, hit the child with a shoe as well as a plastic bottle.
Ms Sullock gave evidence during her former lover's trial - saying Alfie was happy and healthy when she left him.
The one-time holiday rep told a jury she had 30 minutes to get ready for a girls' night out after getting back to Pearce's home in Nelson.
But when questioned by defence barrister Maura McGowan as to whether she could have unintentionally "jerked" or moved her son too quickly, Ms Sullock replied: "No, I was always very careful. He was so small. He was a newborn baby."
Ms Sullock, who lived in Fairwater, Cardiff, discovered she had become pregnant while a holiday rep in Crete.
She returned home to the UK, and six months into her pregnancy she met the defendant on a chance night out at a pub in Cardiff.
The pair initially kept in touch as friends, but later became an item.
Ms Sullock admitted Pearce would not have been the sort of man she would have gone for.
However, she described him as kind and reliable - and said he was "fantastic" with her son as well as a good father to his daughter.
Alfie was born at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), Cardiff, on July 6 last year.
The court heard the child was healthy and that his mother's pregnancy and labour had been "uneventful".
Health visitors and doctors later described Ms Sullock as a good mother and had "no concerns" about Alfie's well-being.
On August 16 last year, Ms Sullock went shopping with her son before going to stay at Pearce's terraced home.
The court heard he suggested she should go out for the night with the partner of his neighbour called Claire - who she had met earlier in the week.
She said: "He was saying that maybe I should get to meet someone in the area. Going out was his idea really. He said 'why don't you go for a drink and get to know her?'."
In the early evening, the couple went out to nearby pub The Lord Nelson - with Ms Sullock saying she had one bottle of Bulmers.
They returned back at Pearce's by 7pm, leaving Ms Sullock half an hour to get ready before going out to meet with Pearce's neighbour.
She said the defendant saw to her son's feed while she had a shower.
"I had no concerns," she said.
"Alfie was great. He was really happy."
Ms Sullock said she received two picture messages from Pearce while out after asking if her son was okay.
The first caused her some concern, she said, because Alfie appeared to be red faced - to which Pearce said the baby had been crying because of wind.
However, a second allayed her fears.
During cross-examination, Ms Sullock also denied suggestions she did not know how to handle a newborn child properly.
"I had a lot of experience with children before Alfie.....(because her sister has children). I knew what I was doing," she added.
She also said that despite her pregnancy being unexpected, she was elated to be a mother.