THE MOTHER of a man accused of murdering a four-year-old girl has told the jury that the youngster idolised him.
Donna Seaton told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that her son Peter Seaton, 22, who is charged with murdering Leticia Wright, was like a “big kid himself” when he was around other children.
Leticia died of multiple injuries while living with Seaton and her mother, Sharon Wright, 23, at a house on Almondbury Bank, Moldgreen, last November.
The pair have denied causing Leticia’s fatal injuries and Mrs Seaton told the jury that she did not have any concerns about her son’s behaviour when he was around children.
Asked by Timothy Roberts QC, representing Seaton, how Leticia had felt about him Mrs Seaton replied: “She idolised him.”
She added that her son had gone to a special school at the age of 14 because of learning difficulties before returning to the family home on Meadow Lane, Northallerton, North Yorkshire.
She said that there he had played with children in the paddling pool and on the bouncy castle on the front lawn on practically a daily basis.
“All the children thought that he was great,” Mrs Seaton told the jury.
“He acts like a big kid himself when he was with them, playing football and games.” She added that she had never seen him get nasty or aggressive and that she had never seen him hit any of the children.
She told the jury that Wright had phoned her from the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on the day that Leticia died.
The court was told that Mrs Seaton drove to the hospital with her brother, Mark Wake, and stayed until Wright was arrested.
She told the jury that Wright had not made any allegations of any wrongdoing against her son.
Seaton drove back with his mother to Northallerton that night.
Mr Wake gave evidence and said Seaton had been crying and sobbing.
Before Wright and Seaton had moved to Almondbury Bank they had stayed for a short period with Seaton’s father Robert Seaton in Kettering.
Giving evidence, he told the jury that on one occasion Wright, 23, had given Leticia a “proper slapping” while she they had been staying with him.
He described how he felt guilty because he had not called social services. From the witness box he said: “I should be in that dock.
“I should have phoned social services, that’s what I should have done. I feel guilty.”
The jury were shown computer images of blood stains on the lounge wall of the house on Almondbury Bank which forensic scientist Samantha Warnakulasriya said was consistent with hair swipes.
She said: “It’s when hair with blood on it comes into contact with a non-blood- stained surface.
“The pattern is such that that bloodstained hair had been in contact with the wall and the contact had been forceful in nature, such that the bloodstained hair struck the wall.”
Both defendants have denied that they were responsible for causing Leticia’s fatal injuries.
But the prosecution has alleged that either of them, or both of them acting together, had fatally wounded the girl.
The trial continues.