Killer foster mother is jailed for at least 18 years for murdering baby she was hoping to adopt

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Laura Castle, 38, was convicted of murdering 13-month-old, who died in January 2021


Killer foster mother Laura Castle shamelessly lied to police about murdering the baby she hoped to adopt in new footage released after she was jailed today.

Footage from her police interviews shows Castle, 38, sobbing as she lied to officers about how Leiland-James Corkill died.

Laura Castle, 38, was convicted of murdering 13-month-old, who died in January 2021

Laura Castle, 38, was convicted of murdering 13-month-old, who died in January 2021

She told officers the one-year-old had fallen from her lap and then stood up to demonstrate what she claimed had happened.

She is heard saying: ‘I tried to put the wipes back in the coffee table drawer so I’m leaning over and I stood up like that…and he fell on the floor.

‘I didn’t put him on the sofa, I was just frightened because I didn’t have hold of him.

‘I picked him up…he was struggling, like gasping.’

A second clip showed Castle replying ‘no comment’ to police as they quiz her over previous times she admitted ‘slapping’ the baby.

It came as the biological mother of Leiland-James slammed authorities today for ‘placing him with a monster’.

Leiland-James was taken into care soon after Laura Corkill gave birth to him in December 2019.

But Ms Corkill said she stayed in frequent contact with his foster mother before his placement for potential adoption with Laura Castle, 38, and her husband, Scott, 35, at their home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Pictures show 'happy and cheerful' Leiland Corkill with his birth mother, Laura, before his tragic death earlier this year

Pictures show 'happy and cheerful' Leiland Corkill with his birth mother, Laura, before his tragic death earlier this year

Pictures show ‘happy and cheerful’ Leiland Corkill with his birth mother, Laura, before his tragic death earlier this year

Handout grab from video issued by Cumbria Police of Laura Castle's during a police interview

Handout grab from video issued by Cumbria Police of Laura Castle's during a police interview

Handout grab from video issued by Cumbria Police of Laura Castle’s during a police interview

Mrs Castle was jailed for a minimum of 18 years today at Preston Crown Court for the murder of the one-year-old boy she was hoping to adopt.

In a letter sent to the court Ms Corkill said: ‘He was placed in the home of a monster.

‘A monster that was meant to love, nurture and cherish him as I would have done. A monster that robbed Leiland-James at only 12 months old of his life, robbed me, his brother, sisters and my family of one day opening the door to the wonderful young man that I know he would have become.

‘I would say I would like the key to be thrown away and for the monster that hurt my child be left to rot in the hell that she inflicted on my child, but this is for a higher power that she will have to suffer for what she has done for eternity. 

Leiland-James Corkill had been placed with Laura Castle, 38, and her 35-year-old husband Scott by authorities in Cumbria

Leiland-James Corkill had been placed with Laura Castle, 38, and her 35-year-old husband Scott by authorities in Cumbria

Leiland-James Corkill had been placed with Laura Castle, 38, and her 35-year-old husband Scott by authorities in Cumbria

Laura Castle, 38, of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, was found guilty of murdering 13-month-old Leiland-James Corkill last week at Preston Crown Court. Footage shows her pulling faces as the infant cried in hospital

Laura Castle, 38, of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, was found guilty of murdering 13-month-old Leiland-James Corkill last week at Preston Crown Court. Footage shows her pulling faces as the infant cried in hospital

Laura Castle, 38, of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, was found guilty of murdering 13-month-old Leiland-James Corkill last week at Preston Crown Court. Footage shows her pulling faces as the infant cried in hospital

The agony of Leiland-James’ biological mother 

‘Leiland-James Corkill Is my darling son, my beautiful blue eyed baby boy! He was my reason to live once again. Leiland-James as is with all my children are my light in the darkness of the pain of my life. My baby boy, Leiland-James was to be coming home! A home filled with love. I made sure that he would have all that he needed, his nursery was decorated, clothes folded in his drawers and his pram stood in the hall with love and within a safe home. I had done everything that I Could, all I was asked, meeting all expectations, passing assessments.

‘Forces worked against us and Leiland-James was taken and placed firstly with his loving foster mother Charlotte, I continued to have frequent contact then when Leiland-James was 7 months old, he was placed in the home of a monster, a monster that was meant to love, nurture and cherish him as I would have done. A monster that robbed Leiland-James at only 12 months old of his life, robbed me, his brother, sisters and my family of one day opening the door to the wonderful young man that I know he would have become. People say I am brave, I am not! I just exist to get justice for my son Leiland-James and for all my children. Leiland-James was ripped from my loving arms, but I was always his mammy. I carried him with in my body for 9 months with every beat of my heart full of love, full of pride, full of promise. My beautiful blue eyed baby, love saw his first breath, evil took his last breath here on earth, Mammy was not ready to say goodbye, I will never be ready to say goodbye.

‘I carry Leiland-James forever in my heart, I hear his cheeky laughter in the wind that blows, see his beautiful smile in my memories engrained within my sole, his photos on every wall. I have foot prints and handprints and a memory box but all I want is to hold him, Leiland-James liked kisses and snuggles and always fell asleep in my arms. My son, Leiland-James Corkill was a happy wee boy, he always had a bright beaming smile, a smile that would brighten days, even on my worst days he is my sunshine. My Son, Leiland-James visits in my dreams, he will always be by my side, safe forever now within my heart. No sentence will ever be enough, for the pain, trauma and brutality that was inflicted on his tiny baby body and mind. I understand that you as a judge will make judgment, I understand that you are governed by what sentence you can put forward, nothing will ever bring back my baby, nothing will ever reduce or take away that pain. The monster that scared and broke my baby boy’s body and mind will never have forgiveness this is something that she will carry for the rest of her days. The Monster has said that she wants “her boy to have justice”, he was not and never will be your baby boy you lost that right the first second it went through your head to hurt him. He was a precious baby, vulnerable and innocent, he had no voice, he could not defend himself. 

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‘Please give my precious son the justice that he so deserves. Please give the maximum you can give, to hopeful be a deterrent for others that think that they would hurt a precious child. I would say I would like the key to be thrown away and for the monster that hurt my child be left to rot in the hell that she inflicted on my child, but this is for a higher power that she will have to suffer for what she has done for eternity.’

‘Leiland-James was ripped from my loving arms, but I was always his mammy. I carried him within my body for nine months, with every beat of my heart full of love, full of pride, full of promise.

‘My beautiful blue-eyed baby, love saw his first breath, evil took his last breath here on earth. Mammy was not ready to say goodbye, I will never be ready to say goodbye.

‘I carry Leiland-James forever in my heart, I hear his cheeky laughter in the wind that blows, see his beautiful smile in my memories engrained within my sole, his photos on every wall. I have footprints and handprints and a memory box, but all I want is to hold him.

‘The monster has said that she wants ‘her boy to have justice’. He was not and never will be your baby boy. You lost that right the first second it went through your head to hurt him.

‘He was a precious baby, vulnerable and innocent, he had no voice, he could not defend himself. The names you called him and the hurt you caused him, the fact that you blamed him for your disgusting behaviour and treatment of him, Leiland-James was a baby! A tiny baby! Shame! shame! on you. You are not a mother, you are a monster.’

In the victim personal statement read to the court she said: ‘I was told he would be safe and he would have a good life. I was fine with that. Now my life is broken.’

Leiland-James died the following day after doctors found that his heart wasn’t beating and he had a head injury, which Laura Castle said he sustained by falling from a sofa.

But the court heard how she had then searched online for what might cause a bleed on the brain while the tot lay in hospital, as her story began to unravel.

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And later a post-mortem finding confirmed that he had suffered a traumatic head injury, which wasn’t caused by accident.

During her trial, the foster mum pleaded guilty to manslaughter, after admitting that she shook the baby so that he was ‘stop crying.’

But texts shared between Laura Castle and her husband revealed that she had referred to Leiland-James as a ‘proper n*bhead’, a ‘d**k’ and a s**t bag’.

She also admitted to ‘smacking’ the child in the messages.

In one text she wrote: ‘I honestly really don’t like him lately, hes an absolute moaning winge bag and I totally regret doin this [sic].

‘I’m goin to lose my mind. He just p****s me off all the time, can never just have a nice day or night ever.

‘Although I need to stop smacking him cos if I start I’ll not stop at one point and it’s not getting us anywhere and then I feel bad.’

The court also heard that a social worker had reported concerns about the foster mum after she had branded the baby ‘lazy’ and ‘big’.

A review then took place where officials told the couple they would not support permanently placing Leiland-James with them unless they undertook therapeutic work.

But the court heard the couple instead ploughed ahead with the adoption proceedings.

The couple exchanged further texts on September 25, 2020, with Laura telling her husband she had ‘leathered’ Leiland-James again as she was at her ‘wits end’.

She added: ‘I’m just an abusive parent so it seems.’

A jury later found Laura Castle guilty of murdering Leiland-James, with a judge set to determine her sentence at a later date, while Scott Castle was acquitted.

And following the verdict, Joanne Close, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North, called former foster mum ‘self-centred, abusive and violent’.

After 13-month-old Leiland-James was admitted to hospital, Preston Crown Court heard how his foster mother Laura Castle had searched online for what might cause a bleed on the brain

After 13-month-old Leiland-James was admitted to hospital, Preston Crown Court heard how his foster mother Laura Castle had searched online for what might cause a bleed on the brain

After 13-month-old Leiland-James was admitted to hospital, Preston Crown Court heard how his foster mother Laura Castle had searched online for what might cause a bleed on the brain

She said: ‘His birth mother believed he would be safe and have a good life.

‘His foster parents cared for and loved him for eight months; they described him as a beautiful little boy with the most contagious laugh.

‘But his life was cruelly cut short by the actions of Laura Castle; she was self-centred, abusive and violent and unfit to provide a home to this vulnerable child.

‘The Crown Prosecution Service worked very closely with Cumbria Police to build the strongest possible case to secure justice for Leiland-James.

‘Laura Castle was given no option but to admit at the start of the trial that she had caused his death. The jury had the evidence they needed to find her guilty of his murder.

‘I hope today’s conviction provide some comfort to those that loved Leiland-James. My thoughts are with them.’



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