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Thursday, 26 May 2022 – A foster mother who killed a baby she was hoping to adopt has been jailed for 18 years.

Laura Castle, 38, was found guilty of murdering 13-month-old Leiland-James Corkill whom she battered to death.

The child was placed in the care of Castle and her husband, Scott, 35, in August 2020.

But five months after, on January 6, 2021, paramedics found the baby unresponsive at the couple’s home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

He died the following day after doctors found his heart had stopped beating and he had a head injury, which Castle claimed was from him falling off a sofa.

But further investigation found that the foster mum had searched online for what might cause a bleed on the brain while the child was being attended to in the hospital.

The truth about what happened started to come out when a post-mortem confirmed the toddler had suffered a traumatic head injury, which wasn’t an accident.

During her trial, Castle pleaded guilty to manslaughter, claiming she shook him to stop him crying.

But texts Castle sent to her husband revealed her referring to Leiland-James as a ‘proper n*bhead’, a ‘d**k’ and a s**t bag’.

She also admitted ‘smacking’ the child in the messages.

In one text, she wrote: ‘I honestly really don’t like him lately, he’s an absolute moaning winge bag and I totally regret doing this.

‘I’m goin to lose my mind. He just p****s me off all the time, can never just have a nice day or night ever.

‘Although I need to stop smacking him cos if I start I’ll not stop at one point and it’s not getting us anywhere and then I feel bad.’

The court also heard a social worker had reported concerns about the foster mum after she branded Leiland-James ‘lazy’ and ‘big’.

‘I’m just an abusive parent so it seems,’ Castle texted her husband on September 25, 2020, after admitting she was at her ‘wits end’ and ‘leathered’ Leiland-James again.

Following the jury’s guilty verdict, prosecutor Joanne Close called Castle ‘self-centred, abusive and violent’.

She said: ‘His birth mother believed he would be safe and have a good life.

‘His foster parents cared for and loved him for eight months; they described him as a beautiful little boy with the most contagious laugh.

‘But his life was cruelly cut short by the actions of Laura Castle; she was self-centred, abusive and violent and unfit to provide a home to this vulnerable child.’

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