A YOUNG mother accused of failing to protect her baby from a violent partner said she did not realise he had caused fatal injuries until he pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter.
Jessica Wiggins told the jury at Worcester Crown Court that 21-year-old Tyler Vallance was a volatile man with mood swings who had punched, kicked and slapped her during their year-old relationship.
But she loved him and had not seen him ill treat baby Isabella, who died in hospital aged 12 weeks, after suffering from severe rib and leg injuries. She admitted that she was too scared to leave Vallance.
Wiggins, aged 19, of Heathfield Road, Redditch, pleads not guilty to a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child on December 12, 2012, and a charge of cruelty between October 5 and December 6, 2012, by ill treatment or neglect.
Vallance, of Engadine Road, The Oakalls, Bromsgrove, was initially charged with murder but his plea to manslaughter was accepted. He is currently in custody awaiting sentence.
Miss Wiggins told the court that she had been Vallance's girlfriend since she was 16 and had first gone to live with him at a relation's guest house in Blackpool. It was there that he had hit her for the first time, punching her in the face.
When she moved back to the West Midlands she realised she was pregnant and Tyler seemed happy. In answer to Rachel Brand QC, defending, she said she had decided against a termination and the couple lived with relatives for some time before they got a flat of their own.
Tyler was unpredictable, especially if he had not taken his medication for his ADHD complaint, and he had little to do with the baby, refusing to feed her or change her nappy.
Occasionally he went out with friends and would return home drunk. A mark like a bruise was found on the baby's cheek but no-one was clear how it had happened. Tyler had eventually told her he wanted to be single and she was afraid he would do something stupid like taking an overdose.
She eventually found out that he had been having an affair with a girl under 16 years of age. She and the girl exchanged abusive texts on Facebook.
Miss Wiggins said she and Tyler met up again and she had another daughter, who had since been taken into care.
Cross-examined by prosecutor Christopher Hotten QC, she said that Tyler was very jealous and controlled her as if she was his possession. He suggested that Wiggins should have acted as a barrier between baby Isabella and the "big, bad world" but she said that Tyler was rarely alone with the child and she had never seen her forcibly squeezed.
The trial continues