31 Oct 2012

Murder-accused told officers boy fell off bed

4:35 am on 31 October 2012

A man accused of killing a toddler told police at the scene that the boy fell off the bed while he was making it, a court has been told.

Joel Loffley, 28, is charged with the murder of two-year-old James Lawrence, known as JJ, who died at his home in the Auckland suburb of Orakei in November last year.

He was the partner of the boy's mother and denies the charge.

In opening statements at the Auckland High Court on Monday, the Crown saidthe child had suffered such a trauma that his pancreas and liver were split in two.

On Tuesday, paramedics and the three police officers to arrive first at the scene gave evidence that Joel Loffley told them he had been making the bed.

They said Mr Loffley told them the boy was jumping up and down while he was fluffing the duvet and when he pulled on the cover, JJ fell face down against the wall and his legs flipped up behind his head.

The accused told them that he showered the boy, changed his nappy and put him to bed.

All three officers said Mr Loffley told them JJ screamed the whole time, but after a while went quiet. When Mr Loffley went to check on him some time later, the boy had stopped breathing.

An ambulance officer who tried to resuscitate the boy told the court of her shock at how blunt Joel Loffley was when he learnt the boy was dead.

Paramedic Kirsty Roberts said that the child was lying on lounge floor when emergency staff arrived and was already cold and pale, showing no signs of life. She said they started resuscitation, but he never responded.

Another paramedic, Sean Dougherty, told the court that Mr Loffley asked him: "So, is he dead now?"

Ms Roberts said she was shocked when he asked her the same question because he was so straightforward and blunt, given that the boy was lying on the floor.