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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Stepfather sent ‘look after boy’ text to man, Carlisle court told

A stepfather who is accused of neglecting his stepson by leaving him at home when he went on holiday sent a text asking for him to be looked after, a court heard.

Related: Home alone boy said he'd be okay to look after himself, court told

But a barrister says the message was deleted from the phone of the man it was sent to because it allegedly “undermines” what that man says about the case.

This claim came during the trial of the boy’s mother and stepfather at Carlisle Crown Court.

The boy has previously told the court he was left home alone near Penrith with just £20 and a few microwave meals while the couple jetted off on a week’s holiday to Spain.

He was just 12 at the time, in May last year.

The couple denied they had “abandoned” the boy, with the stepfather saying they made proper arrangements for a couple to look after him.The mother and stepfather are in their fifties and cannot be named for legal reasons.

Tim Evans, defending, questioned the man who received the text. Mr Evans said there was an arrangement for him “to look after” the boy.

The man, giving evidence, replied he was to “keep an eye” on the boy.

Mr Evans asked if a text had been deleted because it showed the couple had asked him to look after the boy.

This text, the court heard, had “disappeared” from the man’s phone.

Mr Evans said: “The reason it’s gone is because it undermines your evidence.”

The man said: “I didn’t delete it.”

The boy’s mother and stepfather have pleaded not guilty to a charge they “wilfully assaulted, ill treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed him in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health”.

This is an offence the jury has been told can cover “psychological suffering”.

The trial continues.

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