A baby boy died from severe brain damage after he was shook by his parents, a court heard.
Ah’Kiell Walker, from Gloucester, was discovered freezing cold and soaking wet, with his lungs, stomach and ears filled with water.
A post-mortem showed the three-month-old had four rib fractures of the kind typically seen in car crash victims and a fractured shoulder.
The court heard the infant also suffered damage to his optic nerve likely to have been caused by shaking, according to medical experts.
He was found by paramedics who attempted to revive Ah’Kiell at the home of his parents Hannah Henry, 21, and Alistair Walker, 27.
They took the baby to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and then the intensive care unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital where he died the following day.
Walker and Henry are accused of covering their tracks after shaking the baby to death in the maisonette flat they shared on July 30 last year.
A harrowing 999 call was played to a jury where sobbing Henry told an operator her son had stopped breathing.
Walker could be heard shouting ‘come now, come now’ as the baby bled from the nose and mouth.
Medics at the hospital suspected the injuries did not correspond with the defendants’ version of events, a court heard.
Bristol Crown Court heard Ah’Kiell was fed four bottles of water a day by his parents as a remedy for constipation.
Despite the ‘obsession’ with their baby’s condition, neither parent sought medical advice and the baby was not even registered with a GP.
They would cut a teat in a bottle to allow more water into the baby’s mouth, and propped the bottle up on a pillow so Ah’Kiell could ‘feed himself’, it emerged during police interviews.
Both defendants wept in the dock as the prosecutor told the jury the circumstances surrounding Ah’Kiell’s death.
They both denied manslaughter, causing or allowing the neglect of a child, and child neglect at Bristol Crown Court.
The jury heard the couple had searched the internet for ‘baby broken ribs’ in the weeks before their child’s death.
Walker said it was because of Ah’Kiell’s ribs ‘clicking,’ and insisted neither of the pair would hurt the child and that he ‘did not trust’ medical professionals.
Phone evidence showed Henry messaged her grandmother on the morning of Ah’Kiell’s death telling her gran ‘I’m just washing Bubba’.
But Henry told police she did not bathe Ah’Kiell that morning and pleaded ignorance as to why his head and hair were covered with water, saying she had splashed his face to ‘bring him back’.
Gary Mills, a rapid response lead paramedic for South Western Ambulance Service, arrived at the family home after Henry called 999 just after 10am.
‘There was a lifeless baby on the floor,’ Mr Mills told the court.
‘The baby was naked. The baby was cold to touch. The baby was wet from head to toe.’
Mr Mills said Ah’Kiell was taking what he described as ‘dying respirations’ – gasps of breath at a frequency far below what is usual for a baby.
‘The airway was full of clear liquid which I viewed to be water,’ he said.
‘I looked into the baby’s mouth. I tipped the baby up on its side to try to drain the liquid from the airway. I literally tipped the baby on to his side. Gravity tipped the water out.
‘Quantity-wise, it was probably not a great deal, but it was enough to be causing a baby a problem.
‘I could see that there was water in the mouth. I turned the baby again. I requested a towel due to the baby being very wet. The floor was wet around the baby.’
Mr Mills said Henry passed him a towel, which he used to dry the baby off. An ambulance arrived and Ah’Kiell was taken to hospital.
The court heard the baby was taking just four breaths per minute, while his heart rate was just 30 beats per minute. It should have been between 90 and 130.
Mr Mills said Ah’Kiell’s parents told him they had given him a bottle of water and left him for a ‘brief period’.
‘The parents had gone back into the room and found the baby unresponsive,’ he told the court.
When asked why his son was naked, soaking wet, with water in his lungs, Walker told investigators: ‘I’m not a doctor me, I don’t know.’
Prosecutor Rosaleen Collins told the jury the couple were both initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but after Ah’Kiell’s death a manslaughter charge was pursued.
She said: ‘They accept they were the only ones responsible for him.. Ah’Kiell was so cold paramedics could not record a temperature for him.
‘The Crown says the inevitable conclusion is that they acted together, and were jointly responsible for Ah’Kiell’s death.
‘We can’t say whether he was immersed in water in some way, but somehow that water got in his lungs and stomach. It might have had something to do with force-feeding of water, or something else.
‘It doesn’t explain the wet hair or the water in the ears.’
Miss Collins added: ‘Their actions must have been so obviously dangerous that it caused the baby to die.’
The trial continues.