Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 15:56 UK

Mother 'suffocated at-risk son'

A mother suffocated her three-year-old son and within hours logged on to an internet dating site and arranged to meet a man, a court has been told.

Tara Haigh smothered her son Billy with something soft such as a pillow at their home in Guildford, Surrey, an Old Bailey jury heard.

She then posted a message on the Girls Date Free website saying he had died from a tumour behind the ear.

Ms Haigh, 24, denies murdering Billy in November 2005.

Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, told the court that Billy had been on the social services' at risk register for neglect.

Within a few hours of her son's death, she was accessing messages sent to her by men
Sally Howes QC

Ms Haigh had learning difficulties and Billy's father was in prison for assaulting her.

"The prosecution case is that Tara Haigh, using a soft object such as a pillow, applied pressure to Billy's face, blocking his airways," said Ms Howes.

"It was a deliberate act by his mother that caused him to stop breathing.

"An examination of the computer showed that within a few hours of her son's death, she was accessing messages sent to her by men on the website Girls Date Free."

Attempts to resuscitate Billy in hospital failed.

Ms Howes said that Ms Haigh told medical staff she put Billy to bed but found he had collapsed when she checked on him later.

On a previous occasion in January that year, an ambulance had been called to the previous address where Billy and his parents were living, the court heard.

The caller said Billy had stopped breathing but he was found to be fit and well.

He was later seen by a specialist who could find nothing wrong with him.

The case continues.




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