A GIRL of four was murdered by her mother and her boyfriend who had subjected her to “sustained, deliberate and brutal” violence, a court heard.
Little Leticia Aalayah Wright, of Huddersfield, had been burned, bitten and beaten in the days before her death last November, it was alleged.
Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday that a severe wound to the back of her head and an abdominal injury similar to those suffered in road accidents had led to the youngster’s death.
Leticia’s mother, Sharon Wright, 23, of Almondbury Bank, Moldgreen, and her then boyfriend, Peter Seaton, 22, of Meadow Lane, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, have denied her murder.
Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC told the jury that Leticia had been burned with cigarettes and had clumps of her hair ripped out. The remains of her hair were found in a wheeled bin outside.
Leticia’s blood was also found on the walls and carpets of the home she had shared with the two accused at Almondbury Bank.
Mr Campbell said it was not possible to say who had inflicted each injury, but the pair had acted as part of a joint enterprise.
He said of Leticia: “She had been subjected to physical abuse on a number of occasions.
“The evidence suggests what happened to Leticia was not the result of a sudden loss of control. Rather what happened was sudden, deliberate and brutal.”
The jury was told that the two defendants had met in Hartlepool, where they began an affair.
When Seaton’s then girlfriend found out they had been forced to leave the area. They had moved to Kettering, Northamptonshire, for a short time before setting up home in Huddersfield.
Wright grew up in the area and still has family there, but had not contacted any of them to say she was back.
Mr Campbell told the court that neighbours had become worried about the new residents of Almondbury Bank as Leticia seemed to spend most of her day looking out of her bedroom window.
Both the upstairs and downstairs curtains seemed to be permanently closed.
Two neighbours was so worried that they phoned social services, who made an unannounced call to the house last October 13.
Wright told them that Leticia had not been registered either with a school or with a local doctor.
Upstairs, in Leticia’s bedroom, they found bunk beds. Only one had a mattress and neither had any bedding.
Leticia was lying on one of the bunks dressed in her underwear and a dressing gown, but seemed to be healthy, the court heard.
After the visit she was enrolled at Moldgreen Community Primary School and when it had been checked that she was attending social services told Wright that the file on her had been closed.
But Leticia only went to school for the first week. She never returned and had never been registered with a doctor.
When the school contacted Wright in the middle of November to ask why Leticia was not going to school staff were told she was ill.
Neighbours said Leticia had returned to her vigil by the window and that nobody saw the little girl outside, Mr Campbell said.
Three days after the school had called paramedics were at the house trying to revive Leticia, who was lying naked on the lounge floor and not breathing.
She was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, but despite doctors trying to revive her for 40 minutes she was later pronounced dead.
A post-mortem revealed that Leticia’s had died of multiple injuries.
Mr Campbell told the jury that virtually her entire body was covered with bruises, some of which were three days old.
She had a substantial injury to the back of the head that was consistent with a punch or a kick and abdominal injuries that would have been extremely painful.
The jury was told that the girl had also been burned with something similar to a cigarette lighter and had had cigarettes deliberately put on her skin.
She had bite marks on both arms and dental records matched them to Seaton, the court heard.
Leticia’s clothes were recovered from the house and found to be bloodstained. Her blood was also found on one of Seaton’s T-shirts.
Her blood was found on a wall in the lounge of the two-bedroomed end terraced house and Mr Campbell said: “While she was injured and bleeding she had been struck on the landing outside her bedroom and she had also been struck inside her bedroom.’’
Clumps of her hair had been pulled from her scalp and were found in a wheeled bin outside.
Evidence of cannabis use was also found in the bin and inside the house.
Wright was arrested at the hospital, but in interviews with police denied that she had caused her daughter’s injuries. She said she was a “rough and tumbly little girl’’.
Wright said she had spent the day colouring with Leticia before taking the dog for a walk and playing in the park.
She said she had bathed Leticia and had left her downstairs while she fetched her pyjamas.
She said that when she got back downstairs Leticia was on the floor unconscious.
Seaton was arrested in Northallerton and also denied assaulting Leticia. He told police he had seen Wright smack her bottom a few times, but said she was never too violent.
But Mr Campbell said they were the only two adults in the house so one, if not both, must have been responsible for Leticia’s fatal injuries.
He added: “Leticia Wright was murdered.
“Whoever inflicted the fatal wounds to the head and abdomen must have intended – at the very least – to cause her really serious harm.
“The evidence is clear that each defendant accepts presence in the house during the time these injuries must have been inflicted and each has denied that a third person could have inflicted them.
“It must therefore have been either of them or both of them acting together.”
The trial continues.