Couple deny murdering baby son who suffered fractured skull

A couple accused of murdering their baby son will stand trial later this year.

Six-month-old Robert Ion died after suffering serious head injuries including a skull fracture.

Police were called to his home in Widnes after being informed that he had become unresponsive on Thursday, February 18 this year.

Emergency services attended the property in Mersey Road at 1.05pm and he was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he later died.

His parents, Mihai-Catalin Gulie and Gabriela Ion, were arrested following his death and subsequently charged with murder.

They appeared at Liverpool Crown Court this morning, via video link from HMP Altcourse and HMP Styal respectively.

Gulie, 28, represented by Philip Tully, and Ion, 35, defended by John Benson, QC, were assisted by a Romanian interpreter.

Both Gulie, with short black hair and beard, wearing a grey sweatshirt, and Ion, with long black hair, in a grey top, pleaded not guilty to murder.

They each also denied separate charges of causing or allowing the death of a child between January 1 and February 19 this year.

According to the wording of those charges, « having been a person who was a member of the same household as and had frequent contact with Robert Ion, a child who died on February 21, 2011 as a result of an unlawful act of such a person, and there having been at that time a significant risk of serious physical harm being caused to Robert Ion by the unlawful act of such a person » the pair « caused Robert Ion’s death ».

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This is alleged to have been by their « own unlawful act » or when they « were or ought to have been aware of that risk and failed to take such steps » as they « could reasonably have been expected to take to protect Robert Ion from the risk, the unlawful act, having occurred in circumstances of the kind » that they « foresaw or ought to have foreseen ».

Nick Johnson, QC, prosecuting, confirmed that a trial had been fixed for October 4 this year.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool, remanded both parents in custody.

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