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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 16:52 GMT
Mother denies poisoning ill son
Petrina Stocker leaving court
Petrina Stocker denies killing her nine-year-old son, David
A mother accused of killing her nine-year-old son by poisoning him with salt wept as she showed jurors two home videos of the boy on Thursday.

Petrina Stocker, 42, of Romford, Essex, denies manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

The two videos were taken before the boy fell ill and died in August 2001 from an overdose of salt which was put into his drip feed.

Her defence says there is no evidence against Mrs Stocker and no proof of who added salt to the feed.

Mrs Stocker is alleged to have misled doctors about his symptoms for five months before spiking the feed.

She is not responsible for the death of her son. She loved her son
Counsel Nigel Lithman QC
Jurors have been told David died in Great Ormond Street Hospital in August 2001.

A post-mortem examination found he died of sodium chloride poisoning, despite being on a salt-free milk feed.

At the time of his death, David also had wasted muscles consistent with chronic anorexia or chronic natural disorders.

On Thursday Mrs Stocker wiped tears from her eyes as she told the jury: "That's David."

The two videos showed the boy in a paddling pool in his garden and at Christmas opening presents with his family.

When Mrs Stocker was asked by her counsel Nigel Lithman QC, if she had done anything to harm David, she replied: "No, I didn't. No, not my child."

Earlier, she had told how proud she was of her "healthy little boy" who had been awarded an honorary black belt and won competitions in karate.

But following a bout of flu, he did not recover and became lethargic before being taken to Oldchurch Hospital with abdominal pains, she said.

'Mystery' illness

She kept vigil by his bedside as more and more tests were done, but no-one could find out what was wrong with him.

Mr Lithman, addressing the jurors before Mrs Stocker gave evidence, said David was not killed by his mother.

He said: "She is not responsible for the death of her son. She loved her son."

He said the prosecution had no evidence against Mrs Stocker and had not been able to prove who added the salt to the drip.

David had been suffering from a complex but wholly genuine "mystery" illness, he said.

The hearing continues.


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