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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 17:52 GMT
Salt death pair deny killing boy
Ian and Angela Gay
Ian and Angela Gay have always denied poisoning Christian
A woman accused of force-feeding salt to a three-year-old boy she was hoping to adopt wept as she recounted the hours before he was taken to hospital.

Christian Blewitt died five weeks after Angela and Ian Gay, from Halesowen, Birmingham, began caring for him, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Mrs Gay denied harming the toddler and said neither she or her husband ever fed Christian salt.

She said he seemed "withdrawn" before he died and desperately wanted a drink.

Christian collapsed at the couple's former home in Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, in December 2002 and later died in hospital.

Christian Blewitt
Tests showed Christian had high levels of salt in his system

Tests showed a high level of salt in his body and that he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

The couple, who were caring for Christian and his two younger siblings as part of a 13-week trial, were convicted of manslaughter in 2005 but won a retrial on appeal.

Angela, 40, and Ian, 39, deny charges of manslaughter and cruelty at the second trial.

The prosecution allege Christian was handled "inappropriately" before he died, by shaking him, or banging his head.

On the day he was taken ill, Mrs Gay said he was "miserable" and would not eat but then asked for numerous glasses of water before being sick.

'Making no sound'

They put him to bed but got him up later and made him some lunch.

However, he was taken back upstairs and put in his sister's cot when they found him at the table with his head bowed and food on the floor.

"I asked him if he was ok. I asked why did he throw his dinner on the floor? He was trying to say words but they wouldn't come out," Mrs Gay told the court.

"Maybe I shouldn't have left him there but at the time it didn't seem the wrong thing to do," she said.

Grinder empty

When she returned to check on him a few minutes later, he was limp and she could not see the pupils in his half-closed eyes, the court was told.

She said her husband drove the toddler to hospital to save time and she stayed with the other children.

When she did go to the hospital she was told about the level of sodium in Christian's blood prompting her to check the sources of salt in the house.

She found the salt grinder empty but told the jury that she felt she would have seen Christian with the grinder.

"I can't believe Christian could have emptied the whole thing, or part of it, without me knowing, (but) I can't exclude it," she said.

The trial continues.

Salt boy 'withdrawn' before death
13 Feb 07 |  West Midlands
Man called salt boy 'a vegetable'
22 Jan 07 |  West Midlands
Couple 'forced boy to eat salt'
19 Jan 07 |  West Midlands

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