Doncaster man accused of baby manslaughter smashed partner's head through door and 'destroyed' sex toys with hammer

James Larkin, of Broadway, Dunscroft is on trial for manslaughter
James Larkin, of Broadway, Dunscroft is on trial for manslaughter

A Doncaster man on trial for the manslaughter of a three-month-old baby was witnessed having several violent rows with the child's mother, during which he smashed her head through a door and destroyed her sex toys with a hammer, a court heard.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how James Larkin, aged 26, was witnessed acting violently towards his then partner Laura Ostle by their friend Chloe Scragg a number of times.

Laura Ostle, of Broadway, Dunscroft

Laura Ostle, of Broadway, Dunscroft

Ms Scragg lived with the couple for a few weeks during March 2013, and said she noticed how Larkin, of Broadway, Dunscroft, would often become violent after being 'wound up' by Ostle, also of Broadway, Dunscroft.

She said: "She would say stupid things, she knew how to push his buttons."

Ms Scragg, who the court heard had been friends with Ostle since school, said that during the few weeks she lived with them she saw Larkin become violent with Ostle on around six occasions.

The 21-year-old said that she once saw Larkin grab Ostle, bend her over and 'manage to put her head through a door'.

"I saw him put her head first through the door," she said.

Defending Larkin, Adam Waterman, suggested Larkin had instead been 'holding' Ostle up against a wall while he attempted to restrain her as she went to hit him.

Ms Scragg said that on a separate occasion she saw Larkin destroy Ostle's sex toys with a hammer.

She said: "She'd been winding him up, and he got angry but instead of going for her he went for her sex toys. He went in her drawer and got them, and destroyed them."

The court was told how the couple were seen to have a volatile relationship by those around them.

Former neighbour Patrick Brian told the court how during the year the couple lived next door to him at a property in Palmer Street, Hyde Park between 2013 and 2014 he would hear things 'kick off' between them about three times a week.

He said: "She was always effing and blinding and ranting at him. I never heard him shout at her.

"He was a good lad, he wasn't the brightest, but he was a good lad."

Mr Brian told the court how on one occasion he and his wife were sat watching television, when they heard what they believe to be Ostle screaming followed by a 'thump and a bang'.

"I said he's hit her," said Mr Brian.

He added: "Call me a nosy neighbour but I wanted to see if everything was alright and we went next door.

"I said had he hit her. He said he had and I said you don't hit women.

"He said he was sorry. He said she was hitting him and showed us all the bruises on his arms and the bite marks."

Larkin is standing trial for manslaughter over the death of Ostle's three-month-old son Christopher Larkin who died on September 16, 2014.

Ostle is on trial for perverting the course of justice.

The case continues.