'I saw Mum punch Lauren', boy says in video evidence

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The Independent Online

The son of a woman accused of killing her stepdaughter tearfully described the sustained physical abuse they suffered during a 40-minute video shown to a jury yesterday.

The boy, aged nine, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police and a social worker how six-year-old Lauren Wright was punched in the stomach on the day she died.

"I was going to the toilet, and I see Mummy punch her in the belly two times," the boy said in the video. The boy told how his mother, Tracey Wright, repeatedly hit them both. He recalled how she made them stand in front of a coal fire and put insects into Lauren's food.

The boy said that Tracey Wright hit him and Lauren "more than once" on the shoulder and back, leaving bruises.

The police officer asked if there were other things his mother had done, and the boy said: "She used to put us in front of the fire."

The police officer asked: "Who do you mean by us?"

He replied: "Me and Lauren." He added they were told to stand in front of the fire "more than once" and for "a long time". The boy said his mother took "bugs" from the garden and put them in Lauren's food.

His mother would also make Lauren stand in the living room until her father, Craig Wright, returned home from work. He said: "Mum would tell him to smack Lauren." The boy said he would then "slap Lauren on the bum", Norwich Crown Court was told.

The boy said Lauren was in the bedroom she shared with Tracey Wright's daughter when she was allegedly punched twice. Afterwards, the boy said a woman called an ambulance but Tracey Wright "pretended" she had not "done it".

Tracey Wright, 31, and Lauren's father, Craig Wright, 38, both deny manslaughter and wilful neglect. The prosecution has alleged that Lauren was struck in the stomach, which led to her death at home in Welney, Norfolk, in May last year. The case continues.