Stepfather denies murdering five-year-old Logan instead accusing the boy’s mother of shaking him
A stepfather accused of murdering a five-year-old boy has denied killing him or being violent and abusive to him, a court heard.
John Cole, 40, denied he had punched Logan Mwangi and instead accused the boy’s mother, Angharad Williamson, 30, of shaking him.
Logan was discovered in the River Ogmore in Pandy Park, Bridgend on the morning of July 31 2021, close to the flat where he lived with his family.
The child, also known as Logan Williamson, had suffered catastrophic injuries similar to those found in victims of high-speed crashes or a fall from a height.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that in the week of Logan’s death, Cole and Williamson were shutting him in his bedroom away from the rest of the household as he had Covid-19.
Giving evidence, Cole (picture in graphic) told the jury Logan did not want to stay in his room and in the days before he died, he and Williamson had to repeatedly put him back there.
He also explained that if Logan was naughty, he would be punished by having to stand in the “naughty corner” in the hallway for five-minute intervals for throwing toys and jumping off the furniture.
Peter Rouch QC, defending Williamson, suggested a comment a neighbour made two days before Logan’s body was found of “Baldy is going bananas” was Cole losing his temper.
“You were out of control and going bananas on the Thursday,” Mr Rouch said.
“You have a loud and aggressive voice? Did you speak to Logan in a loud and aggressive manner?”
Cole, who is 6ft 4in tall and weighs between 14 and 15 stone, replied: “I shouted at Logan, yes. We both used to shout at Logan. I wasn’t aggressive to Logan.”
Mr Rouch asked: “When you had him in the hallway, did you say, ‘Why are you flinching, you’re always flinching?’
“Did you say, words to the effect, ‘You have got to stop him flinching when I’m around him otherwise social services will be concerned?’
Cole replied: “No.”
Mr Rouch asked: “You were there in the hallway towering over him and you said, ‘The only thing he understands is pain’. You hit him twice in the stomach and he fell back on to his backside.”
Cole replied: “No, I did not hit Logan in the stomach.”
Mr Rouch suggested: “You said to the youth, ‘If he flinches again, take him down’.
“I am going to suggest Logan started to try and speak, he stammered, and the youth did what you told him to do and took him down.
“He hit him with his leg, so his feet were taken from him, and Logan fell down and as he fell the youth pressed his head on to the floor?”
Cole replied: “He did not touch Logan, I did not touch Logan. Neither of us hit him.”
The defendant explained they had rowed after Williamson had shaken Logan and she had taken him back to his bedroom.
Mr Rouch said: “Did she say, ‘I’m sick of these rows and I’m going to leave you’ and you said, ‘If you do, I’ll kill him’, meaning Logan?”
The barrister said Williamson’s case was she went to bed on the night of Logan’s death until 5.30am after which time he was dead – meaning Cole or the youth were responsible.
Cole replied: “No. She ran out of the house when I told her to get her hands off Logan when she shook him.”
Cole said: “I didn’t punch Logan. I never said Angharad punched him, I have never said that.
“I didn’t kill Logan. Angharad was awake, Angharad woke me up.”
He told the jury he went to bed at around midnight and had left Logan alive with Williamson.
“She said she heard Logan take his last breath,” he said.
Asked why he had not questioned Williamson over what happened, Cole replied: “I knew I didn’t kill Logan, so the answer I would get would be too horrific and I didn’t want to know – it would be the youth or Angharad.”
Caroline Rees QC, prosecuting, suggested the incident of Williamson burning Logan with a hot teaspoon was an example of their “clever and manipulative” behaviour.
He agreed the youth was trained in martial arts and “knew how to maximise force from kicks and punches”.
“I was always taught it was protection, self-defence,” Cole replied.
Cole said he and Williamson were struggling with Logan’s behaviour and his mother had threatened to hand him over to social services but said they could not “pick and choose” children.
Ms Rees asked: “Would you liked to have picked and chosen, got rid of Logan and kept the youth?”
Cole replied: “No.”
The prosecutor suggested in the days leading up to Logan’s death he was treated like a “prisoner” in his bedroom.
“Taking food to his room and making him face the wall as you put the food to the room,” she said.
“You treated that little boy like a prisoner and in the week before Logan’s death he was largely confined to the room and made to face the wall when food was delivered to him.
“How did you think that made that little boy feel?”
Cole replied: “We were trying our best we possibly could.”
Cole has admitting perverting the course of justice for dumping the boy’s body, but denies murder.
He is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court alongside Williamson and a 14-year-old boy who cannot be named because of his age.
The trial continues.
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2022, All Rights Reserved. Graphic (c) Elizabeth Cook / PA.