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Man denies 1986 murder of stepson

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Man denies 1986 murder of stepson

Post  margaret on Tue 23 Feb - 18:57

Just seen this on ITN news and thought to add it here for obvious reasons. Worth remembering though that the twins were 2 years 3 months when Maddie went missing and this little girl was said to be 3 and a half, so she was another 15 months older?? But goes to show you never forget harrowing things.

Man denies 1986 murder of stepson


An unemployed man went on trial today accused of throwing his toddler stepson down the stairs more than 23-years-ago after the youngster's sister recalled the "haunting" memory to a counsellor.

Kerry Harrison was only three-years-old when she saw Stephen Knox drag her brother up the stairs of their home and then throw him down because he was running around making a noise.

The two-year-old boy died hours later from a brain haemorrhage on December 12, 1986, but Kerry kept the fall secret after Knox allegedly threatened her with the same fate if she told anyone.

An inquest at the time ruled Mark's death at the house on Drayton Road, New Parks, Leicester, was accidental even though investigators could not explain an injury to the back of his head.

It was only after Kerry Harrison, now 26, told her secret to a counsellor in early 2007 that police launched a murder investigation, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Knox, of Ingrow Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire, denies murder.

Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, said: "For years Kerry had been haunted terribly by the memory of her brother's death.

"She was just under three-and-a-half at the time of his death and she recalls that day their mother was taking their older sister Lesley to a concert and Mr Knox had been left to care for her and Mark.

"She recalls Mr Knox hitting Mark which she says was a usual course of conduct. It was about bedtime and Mark was crying.

"The defendant was hitting him and he grabbed him by the arm and dragged him up the stairs.

"When they got to the top Mark was sent down the stairs, pushed, thrown or kicked. He went all the way down to the bottom and was screaming."

Mr Joyce added: "Little Kerry was standing at the foot of the stairs when this happened. It was plain to her that Mr Knox realised she had seen what happened. He then threatened her with: 'If you tell anybody I will do the same to you'."

Giving evidence in court today, Ms Harrison said she, her brother Mark and sister Lesley were treated badly by Knox, who regularly slapped their buttocks and legs.

The children moved in to his house with their mother Margaret after she split from their father, Colin Harrison.

"He (Knox) used to hit us and be nasty. He was not really very loving to us," she told the court.

"He didn't like Mark running around. He just wanted to sit down and he didn't want children running around him."

Recalling the night Mark suffered the allegedly fatal injuries, Ms Harrison said Knox took a "swipe" at her brother before dragging him upstairs.

She added: "It's really blurry. Steve grabbed Mark by the arm and he dragged him upstairs. He got to the top and threw him down. He just rolled all the way to the bottom. He was screaming and Steve came to take him to bed."

The jury of seven men and five women heard the boy was discovered lying lifeless and cold in an upstairs bedroom of Knox's house by three friends after Margaret Harrison came running out of the house screaming for help.

The men found the boy on an upstairs bed and they were unable to save him. They called an ambulance and it was then they noticed the couple both smelt of alcohol, the court heard.

When the ambulance crew arrived one of the paramedics overheard the couple saying the boy had fallen down the stairs just over half an hour earlier.

Knox would later tell police that Mark missed a step and fell down three steps, cutting his chin and banging his head.

His explanation could not have caused the severe injury to the back of Mark's head, the jury was told.

But the recollection of Kerry Harrison could, according to Dr Clive Bouch, the Home Office pathologist who conducted the original post mortem, explain how Mark suffered such injuries.

Ms Harrison had not reported her recollections to police. Instead her counsellor called officers and in July 2007 Knox was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The court heard that when the men, who were named as Michael Mason, Tony Watson and Stephen Cameron, found the toddler in the bedroom, he had bruising on his face and down his back to his waist.

Colin Harrison, Mark's father, also remembered seeing bruises on his children's bodies when he visited them in the months before Mark's death, the court heard.

He confronted Knox, telling him that they were his children and should not be hit. Knox replied: "Yes, but I am looking after them now."

Today, during cross-examination, Kerry Harrison said she had always kept the memory of her brother's death a secret until she told Anthony Scarborough, a mental health nurse who was treating patients for problems such as stress, in January 2007.

Ms Harrison told the court: "Now I have been speaking about it to the police it's helping the memory go.

"It's something I don't want to see when I shut my eyes."

Knox, wearing a dark blue jumper and black trousers, sat through the evidence with an impassive expression.

His barrister Mark Wall QC put it to Ms Harrison that she did not remember accurately what happened the night Mark, described as "chubby" and "lively", allegedly suffered his fatal injury.

He said: "He (Knox) threw toys down the stairs to Mark, didn't he?"

"No," replied Ms Harrison.

The barrister continued: "I suggest to you that it was bedtime and Mr Knox started to chase Mark up the stairs, didn't he?"

"No," repeated Ms Harrison.

"That Mark slipped and fell down a few stairs?"

"No," the witness replied.

The trial of 53-year-old Knox was adjourned to tomorrow.
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Re: Man denies 1986 murder of stepson

Post  ann_chovey on Tue 23 Feb - 20:03

Interesting, thanks.
The twins are old enough to remember if they saw anything. i.m.o. I can recall things from a v. young age. maybe that's why the McCs look so edgy these days. they can't lock the twins away for ever, or home school them (would look suspicious and doubt KM is up to it).
I wonder if their minder took them to the lantern launch/poem reading at Rothley Chapel. Poor little things, i feel sorry for them.
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Re: Man denies 1986 murder of stepson

Post  Guest on Tue 23 Feb - 20:16

Intersting but harrowing post Margaret

Ive always said that the twins, even if they didnt see anything that particular night will have been privy to some important part of the story, ie parents yelling at each other. Parents crying or not as the case may be. If it did happen earlier in the day its likely the twins would have known something pertinent. It just smacks of cover up to me, I have seen nothing of the twins witness statement or child psychologists statement about them ie coaxing out of them what they may have seen.

Compare that with poor Rachel Nickells boy, Alex, 2 years old who witnessed his mothers brutal stabbing on wimbledon common, he could do a perfect id for the killer down to what he was wearing, colours and everything. He was 2. Children shouldnt be written off and a lot of parents would be desperate to see if they could remember anything at all, unless of course you get the mccanns.

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