The man accused of murdering his partner’s three-year-old daughter has told a jury her mother inflicted her fatal injuries.
Delroy Catwell, aged 31, denies murdering Lylah Aaron and was giving evidence in his defence at Sheffield Crown Court.
He claims Lylah’s mother, Precious Chibanda, attacked her daughter during a 15-minute period when she got home from work.
Lylah suffered fatal brain damage and died in Sheffield Children’s Hospital on February 8.
The prosecution say she was subjected to a ‘sustained and forceful attack’ at Catwell’s hands.
Prosecution barrister Bryan Cox asked Catwell: “Your case comes down to this - for some inconceivable reason her mother assaulted her and inflicted the injuries we have heard about?”
Catwell replied: “Yes.”
“What reason would she have to inflict those injuries?” asked Mr Cox.
“I don’t know,” Catwell replied.
“The suggestion that you now make is utterly absurd isn’t it?” said Mr Cox.
“No,” said Catwell.
The defendant went on to accept Miss Chibanda was ‘devoted’ to the youngster.
Catwell, who was living at Beck Road, Shiregreen, with Lylah and her mum, said on the day she died Lylah told him she didn’t want to go to nursery.
He said he was looking after Lylah while Miss Chibanda worked a shift at Derby Royal Infirmary where she was a trainee nurse.
Catwell said: “She said she didn’t want to go to nursery, she wanted to go back to bed.”
Catwell said he didn’t take Lylah to nursery because she seemed tired and they spent the morning watching cartoons.
He said Lylah fell asleep while they were watching a Barbie film and he put her to bed at 12.30pm.
Catwell said when Miss Chibanda returned home - and discovered Lylah wasn’t breathing - he went into shock.
“She burst into the room with Lylah in her arms and she said she was unresponsive.
“I was shocked and surprised. I got the phone and dialled 999 but Precious took the phone.”
Mr Cox said: “She became unwell after you assaulted her.”
“No,” said the defendant.
Catwell denied feeling sidelined by Lylah but admitted she was ‘demanding’.
He also denied breaking Lylah’s ribs and causing her a head injury three to five weeks before her death.
The trial continues.