Ethan Hopson trial: Babysitter claims injuries caused by 'freak incident'
THE babysitter accused of murdering baby Ethan Hopson told a court he "knew how many lives have been ruined" because of the tot's death.
But he claimed that the injuries were caused by a "freak incident" and denied he intentionally set out to hurt the baby, a court heard.
Jason Redgrave, 25, of Grimsby, denies murdering six-month-old Ethan between December 16 and 23. He also denies a charge of manslaughter.
The prosecution at Hull Crown Court claims Redgrave repeatedly hit and shook Ethan, causing severe brain damage, while babysitting for his girlfriend, Karly Hopson, 23, the baby's mother, who was out celebrating a friend's birthday on December 17.
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He is said to have been feeling "acute annoyance, anger and irritation" towards Ethan because the baby probably started crying while he was sending sexually-charged text messages to another man.
Ethan died at Sheffield Children's Hospital on December 22.
Redgrave told the jury during his defence evidence: "He was screaming at the top of his voice – a painful scream, a disturbing kind of scream. I picked him up and tried to soothe him as best I could. I thought maybe he was having a nightmare or something."
He claimed that he went to check on Ethan again because "something was bugging me" that Ethan might be unwell. He told the jury: "I just went to check to see if he was OK. He was just laid flat on his back on the bed. I just put his finger in my right hand, just a comfort thing, to see if he was OK.
"I just wanted to pick him up to see if he was OK and give him a hug and that's when his head rocked back. His legs were floppy.
"I was panicky and a bit shocked because, half an hour earlier, he was laughing and giggling with me. I was panicking because I had never seen that before.
"I rushed him downstairs. It was just a blur. I checked for his pulse on his wrist and his neck. He was wheezing.
"I just felt like something had to be done. I was in complete panic mode. I tried blowing air in his mouth to see if his lungs would expand.
"I didn't know what to think. I was all over the place. I was in shock."
He told the court: "I know how many lives have been ruined because of this."
He denied a prosecution claim that he was "simmering" because of an earlier telephone fall-out with his estranged wife, Laura Redgrave, and denied quizzing her and their three-year-old son about where she was going that night.
He admitted sending and receiving text messages of a "homosexual nature" to another Grimsby man but claimed he was able to send them while he was still looking after Ethan. He denied being distracted by texting the man.
He said of his friend: "We were quite close. He helped me get through that when I left Laura and we became close because of that."
One text from Redgrave to the man read: "You are destined to be my rock, my everything."
Redgrave admitted they were "very intimate and personal" texts. Another message from Redgrave read: I have got no one, just you."
He claimed his relationship with the man was a fantasy and was "fanciful rather than practical".
Under cross-examination, Redgrave claimed it must have a freak accident but said he now admitted he must have caused some or all of the injuries, despite originally denying everything to the police.
He told the court: "At the time, I genuinely did not know what I had done. It wasn't until after the medical reports came back, all of them, when they said I must have contributed in some way."
He added that, at the time, he believed he had not done any intentional or reckless harm to Ethan.
The court heard Redgrave had no previous convictions and had spent a short spell in the Army. He had also done retail work and carpentry work for his father. He had a college City and Guilds qualification in sports and leisure management.
The case continues: The jury has been reduced from 12 to 11 after one of the six women jurors fell ill and was unable to continue on the case.