A couple killed a three-year-old boy they were planning to adopt when he failed to meet their expectations of ready-made family life, a court heard.
Christian Blewitt died in hospital
Ian and Angela Gay, of Halesowen, West Midlands, are accused of killing
He died in Birmingham Children's Hospital in December 2002 from salt poisoning and brain injuries.
The couple both deny murder and one count of child cruelty, at Worcester Crown Court.
The court heard Christian Blewitt had been placed with the couple as prospective parents together with his younger brother and sister in November 2002.
Julia Macur QC, prosecuting, accused the couple, formerly of Bromsgrove Worcestershire, of feeding Christian three to four teaspoons of salt as a punishment and injuring his brain by shaking him, or hitting his head off a surface.
"Mr and Mrs Gay obviously wanted a ready-made family", she said.
"They had their expectations of this family and obviously wanted things to go smoothly.
"But it is clear the bonding process with Christian did not take place. Why else would Mr Gay have failed to go to the hospital when Christian was transferred to Birmingham?
"Why else would Mrs Gay go to work while her prospective adoptive son lay critically ill?"
Miss Macur told the jury: "The prosecution says there were two abusive incidents, the salt poisoning and the head impact and shaking.
"The excessive salt in the blood will not have helped the brain injury and the brain injury will not have helped the excessive salt (situation)."
She said the couple told police in interview they had found Christian comatose in his bedroom where he had been left after throwing a plate of food onto the kitchen floor during lunch.
She said: "Christian was unresponsive. He was floppy but he had a locked jaw and his breathing was laboured. His eyes were half closed. He was obviously in a critical condition."
Miss Macur added that tests carried out revealed "excessively high" levels of sodium and chloride in his blood and that he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
The case continues.