Toddler was ‘found like a rag doll’ murder trial is told

Amina Agboola Amina Agboola

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
8:02 AM

The mother of a toddler who died after being found “like a rag doll” after an attack at her home had ignored warnings that her partner posed a danger to children, a court has heard.

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Amina Agboola, two, was found injured at her home in Yaxley after paramedics were called on November 21 last year. She died later that day after being taken to hospital.

Her mother’s boyfriend, Dean Harris, 19, who was originally from Sawtry, later admitted he had lost his temper and kicked her in the stomach, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Harris, 19, denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Sarah Racqueman, 29, of Scott Drive, denies causing or allowing her daughter’s death, and cruelty to two other children.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Zoe Johnson said: “The evidence demonstrates that in the period leading up to Amina Agboola’s death, Sarah Racqueman was repeatedly warned by professionals that Dean Harris posed a risk of serious physical harm to children but she chose to ignore those warnings.

“Contrary to all the professional advice she had received, she left Amina in the sole care of her boyfriend.

“That was to prove, unfortunately, a fatal decision.”

The court heard that Harris, who accepts he kicked Amina in the stomach and ruptured her liver, but claims he did not intend to cause serious harm, had himself called paramedics to the house in Yaxley on the day of her death.

He told crews she had fallen off a toilet, but later admitted this was not true.

While on remand, Harris told a fellow inmate he was a “psychopath” and confessed to lashing out at her after becoming frustrated that she kept soiling herself, Miss Johnson said.

Miss Johnson said the child was found “limp and unconscious” in her pink nightie, and one paramedic remarked that as she lay on the floor she looked like a “rag doll”.

Her pupils were dilated, she was unresponsive and was struggling to breathe, she added.

Miss Johnson said: “Harris seemed unconcerned and even had to be told to stop having a conversation on the phone.”

A post-mortem examination also found Amina’s arm had recently been fractured, she had bruises to her face and skull and there were bite marks to her cheek and forearm.

Police who searched the house after her death found there was an inadequate amount of food kept in the home.

Jurors were told that Ms Racqueman had begun a relationship with Harris, who lived next door, five months earlier.

Social services had warned her that he was capable of violence, used drugs and had abused his former girlfriend.

After her arrest, Ms Racqueman told police she had left Amina with Harris before and trusted him.

The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

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