29 Nov 2011

Murder-accused mistreated baby's sister, court told

10:14 pm on 29 November 2011

A mother whose former boyfriend is on trial for murdering her six-month-old baby says he talked to her other child as if she was a dog.

James Hemana, 31, is on trial for murdering Cezar Taylor, the son of Victoria Taylor, his partner at the time.

Ms Taylor's 16-month-old daughter Wikitoria was living with the couple before the mother sent the toddler back to the birth father and took Cezar to live with her instead.

Ms Taylor, 21, told the court on Tuesday that her relationship with James Hemana deteriorated when Wikitoria came to live with them.

She says he became increasingly violent and would growl at the toddler and mistreat her.

Ms Taylor says he would ask Wikitoria why she was crying and tell her that she was soft and should harden up.

The court also heard evidence on Tuesday from James Hemana's cousin who said she received text messages from the accused saying that he did not hit Cezar.

Katherine Wright described what happened the night before the baby was taken to hospital.

She said she went to check on Cezar when she heard what she described as a muffled cry, and he went limp when she took him from his cot.

Ms Wright said that in the days following Cezar's admission to hospital, she got a series of texts from James Hemana asking about the investigation.

In one message, Mr Hemana said he would not have hit a baby because he was not that evil, the court was told.