Durham murder mum Christina Robinson jailed for life

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Durham murder mum Christina Robinson jailed for life

Duncan Leatherdale,BBC North East & Cumbria

Durham Police Christina RobinsonDurham Police

Christina Robinson had denied injuring and killing her three-year-old son

A woman who caned, scalded and murdered her three-year-old son has been jailed for at least 25 years.

Christina Robinson subjected Dwelaniyah to “extreme cruelty” in the weeks before his death in November 2022.

The 30-year-old had denied killing or injuring her son, who had suffered extensive and excruciating burns to his bottom half, but admitted caning him in accordance with her religious beliefs.

Robinson, of Ushaw Moor near Durham, was jailed for life with a minimum term after jurors found her guilty of murder and child cruelty.

Family handout A little boyFamily handout

Dwelaniyah Robinson was murdered at his home near Durham on 5 November 2022

The trial had heard Dwelaniyah, who had more than 60 injuries at the time of his death, was regularly and “violently” punished by his mother, including being “forced” into a bath of scalding hot water 18 days before he died.

Robinson, who is originally from Tamworth, Staffordshire, told jurors she was following the teachings of her religion, the Black Hebrew Israelites, which preached punishing children.

Prosecutor Richard Wright KC said her actions had been “sadistic” with “extreme cruelty” and Dwelaniyah was subjected to “ritual and persistent beatings”.

He said the boy was repeatedly struck with a cane even while he was seriously injured with the burns.

‘False charges’

“These were administered as punishment for behaviour that was rather objectively trivial but [Robinson] considered worthy of severe punishment,” Mr Wright said.

Dwelaniyah died after collapsing at their home on Bracken Court on 5 November, with pathologists concluding he suffered fatal brain injuries caused by a forceful shaking.

Robinson, who sacked her legal team towards the end of her trial, spoke for herself at the sentencing after a second barrister withdrew from representing her shortly before the hearing.

She called the charges against her “false” and claimed she was “innocent”.

Robinson said: “I did not kill my child in anyway, however the prosecution chooses to say it, whichever way anyone wants to imagine it, the fact is I did not kill my child.

“I stand by that and will forever stand by that, I pray for the day justice will be served.”


Judge Mr Justice Garnham said he did not think Robinson’s actions could be classed as “sadism” as it was not proven she got any pleasure, in particular sexual, from her actions.

The judge said Robinson “plunged” her son into a bath she knew was too hot because she was “angry” after he soiled himself, causing “appalling” and “dreadful” burns.

Then, despite him having burns covering 20% of his body, she did not seek medical treatment for him because she was “worried” at what would happen to her, and her attempt to treat him with ointments and bandages bought online was “wholly inadequate”.

The judge said she was “callous” and later caned Dwelaniyah as she “mistakenly” interpreted her religious teachings to believe it was “appropriate” to punish her son by hitting him with a bamboo cane.

“What must have gone through the mind of this little boy being beaten with a cane by his mother despite these terrible burns does not bear thinking about,” the Mr Justice Garnham said.

As well causing physical pain to her son, Robinson’s “mistreatment” also involved leaving him home alone unsupervised “for lengthy periods” while she went shopping or to medical appointments, the judge said.

He said against the “background of such abuse” she murdered her son by “shaking him forcefully and repeatedly”, although the judge added he could not be sure she meant to kill him as oppose to just cause really serious harm.

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