Woman found guilty of murdering baby she was in the process of adopting

Posted: 23rd May 2022

A woman in the United Kingdom has been found guilty of murdering a 13-month-old boy who she was in the process of adopting, multiple British reports say.

Laura Castle, 38, lost her temper and violently shook Leiland-James Corkill to death due to the infant’s crying in Jan. 2021, according to the BBC.

Scott Castle, Laura’s husband, has reportedly been cleared of causing or allowing the baby’s death.


Baby Leiland-James had been taken into care at the time of his birth, The Guardian reports, adding he was placed in the Castle household in Aug. 2020. This means the infant was killed just five months after being placed in the home.

Initially, Laura Castle claimed baby Leiland-James had fallen off a sofa, hit his head, and was having trouble breathing, according to The Independent.

However, medics who responded to the scene reportedly said the child’s injuries did not match Castle’s claims, and subsequently raised concerns.

BBC reports pathologists saying “severe” and “considerable” force would have been necessary to inflict the fatal brain injuries the baby suffered, adding it was believed Leiland-James’s head had been struck on a hard surface.

Laura Castle stuck to her story that the infant’s death was a tragic accident, only to change her story on the day a jury was sworn in for her trial, The Independent reports. She reportedly pleaded guilty to manslaughter on that day, but denied murder.

She admitted to shaking the baby after he would not stop crying, and then claimed the baby somehow hit his head on a sofa’s armrest before falling to the floor, The Guardian reports.

Prosecutor Michael Brady reportedly argued it was more likely Castle had smashed the baby’s head on the sofa armrest, or another surface like a table.

It only took the jury about two and a half hours to convict Laura Castle of murder and child cruelty on Tuesday, according to the BBC. She will reportedly be sentenced on May 25.

During the investigation into Leiland-James’s death, police reportedly found texts between Laura Castle and her husband which indicated Laura was growing frustrated with the baby. reports Laura called the infant a “knobhead” and “whingebag.”

In one text message exchange between the couple, Scott Castle tells his wife they should “call it quits” with trying to adopt the baby.

I’m seriously at my wits end, no-one tells you about all this s–t. I’m just an abusive parent so it seems,” Laura says in a text, The Independent reports.

Your not an abusive parent, baby. Not at all. Don’t say that. I think he’s a little too f—-d up for us to handle,” Scott Castle reportedly responds. “Let’s just call it quits. I don’t want you to have a mental break down. Your more important to me than him.

The Castles had reportedly been selected by an adoption panel during a process overseen by Cumbria Children’s Services Department.

According to the BBC, an independent review into Leiland-James’s death is underway, and the council’s executive director for people, John Readman, called the case “truly shocking,” adding there should “quite rightly be questions” about how the Castles were approved.

“Adoption should have been a new beginning for [Leiland-James],” Readman reportedly said. “That was cruelly taken away from him by the person who should have cared for him and kept him safe.”



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