Mother denies causing fatal injuries

Troy Taylor murder trial, Day 2 update: A young mother has rejected a defence accusation that she had harmed her young son and was responsible for the fatal injuries for which Troy Kevin Taylor is on trial for murder.

The accusation was repeatedly put to Mikala Stokes during cross-examination on the second day of 23-year-old Taylor’s trial before Justice Cameron Mander and a jury in the High Court at Christchurch.

Taylor’s defence counsel, Phil Shamy, alleged that on the day of the death of 14-month-old Ihaka Paora Braxton Stokes, she had been angry and stand-offish towards Taylor when he returned home after getting a tattoo. She had been alone at home with her son during that time.

Taylor would give evidence in the trial, said Mr Shamy. He would say that when he came home he found the boy was “very unwell”.

“I don’t think he was,” Miss Stokes replied.

“You had injured him,” said Mr Shamy. “I’m not saying that you intended to, but you lost your temper with him.”

Miss Stokes denied it.

“I’m not saying you meant to kill your child. I’m saying you did though – you harmed him.”

Again, Miss Stokes denied it.

The Crown is alleging that Taylor, who had suffered repeated concussions, had “lost it” and injured the baby. The defence is alleging that Miss Stokes – a heavily pregnant mother coping with a child with an ear infection – cannot be ruled out as being the person who caused the injury. She was the only other person in the Bryndwr house.

Taylor, 23, denies charges of assaulting the child on Thursday July 2, 2015, and murdering him on Friday July 3. The Crown will call evidence from 36 witnesses during the trial which will take at least two weeks.

Mr Shamy said Miss Stokes had relied on Taylor to help with Ihaka and had sometimes obsessively texted him to come home. She said she did not like being alone, but at that time had wanted him home “for me” and not because she had a grumpy, tired child.

She acknowledged that sometimes when Ihaka irritated her she would “take a breath and walk away”.

She said she did not know what she did while Taylor was gone that day, but she did not cause injuries to her child.

Mr Shamy asked: “Did you harm Ihaka when Troy was out? Did you kill this boy?”

“No,” Miss Stokes replied.

The trial is continuing.

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