Father 'had no idea of Lauren's abuse'

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The Independent Online

The father of Lauren Wright, who died at the aged of six with 60 bruises on her body, denied yesterday that he knew of the systematic abuse she is alleged to have suffered.

Craig Wright, aged 38, a mechanic, told Norwich Crown Court he never suspected his daughter was being mistreated by her stepmother, Tracey Wright, despite bruises on her body covering her torso, arms and legs. He said he "had loved and still loved" his daughter.

The prosecution alleges Mr Wright "turned a blind eye" to the abuse, but he claimed yesterday that he would have taken Lauren away if he had known.

Although about 60 bruises were found on Lauren's body after her death on 6 May last year, Mr Wright said he believed his wife and daughter's explanations that she was being bullied at school.

She died at her home in Welney, Norfolk, from internal injuries after a severe blow to her stomach, inflicted, the prosecution alleges, by Tracey Wright.

Giving evidence yesterday, Craig Wright said: "I wasn't looking for [the bruises] and I didn't have any idea what was going on. I did not know my little girl was dying. I did not turn away. I did not see anything to give me concern.

"Tracey was always giving a good reason, I did not doubt her for one minute. She was loving and caring about me and Lauren and the other two kids. I never saw the bruises until I was shown the photos months afterwards."

Social workers visited the family home after a complaint was made about a bruise on Lauren's face in March last year, but Mr Wright said he was unconcerned because his daughter and wife told him it was caused by a door handle.

During a subsequent visit to a paediatrician, he claimed to have been "shocked" when he saw the bruises on her body. Mr Wright said that Lauren was "clumsy".

Craig and Tracey Wright, 31, both deny manslaughter and wilful neglect.

The trial continues.

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