7 Nov 2019

Leon Jayet-Cole inquest: Mother adamant she never saw him being abused

8:00 pm on 7 November 2019

The mother of 5-year-old Leon Jayet-Cole remains adamant she never saw him being abused.

The home of Leon Jayet-Cole who died today after being rushed to hospital with head injuries.

The home of Leon Jayet-Cole in 2015. Leon died after being rushed to hospital with head injuries. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

The autistic Christchurch school boy died in hospital in May 2015, after suffering a serious head injury at his home.

Leon's stepfather, James Stedman Roberts, was charged with murder but died before his trial in 2016, prompting the coronial inquest which began looking at the cause of death last year.

The second part of the inquest, which began on Monday afternoon, has probed into Leon's stepfather's violent past.

Giving evidence at the final day of the inquest today, Leon's father Michael Cole said he pleaded with authorities about the danger posed by Mr Roberts.

But Leon's mother Emma Jayet, said she never saw Mr Roberts harm Leon.

Mr Cole said he feared his ex-partner, Ms Jayet, was hurting Leon during the time she was together with Mr Roberts.

He believed the pair were using heroin, and raised concern with the then Child Youth and Family about Leon and another child living at the house,

"Whenever I was at home it appeared to me that the children were scared of James Roberts, they also appeared to be utterly miserable," Mr Cole said.

Mr Cole also said he had once received threatening text messages from Mr Roberts, who threatened to kill and rape Mr Cole.

But Leon's mother said Mr Roberts didn't mean to follow through with the death threat, and sent the messages because he was angry at Mr Cole wanting to take Leon away.

Ms Jayet said Mr Roberts was the firmer of the two towards Leon, and she was a "pushover".

She also said Mr Roberts was kind to her after her break up with Mr Cole, who she accused of being abusive during their relationship.

Mr Cole denied abusing Ms Jayet.

Under cross-examination from the Canterbury District Health Board's legal counsel Paul White, Ms Jayet continued to deny any knowledge of abuse towards Leon by Mr Roberts.

Much was the questioning revolved around an incident in April 2012, when Leon lacerated his tongue.

A medical report at the time said Ms Jayet had told hospital staff that Leon climbed up a chair and fell over, hitting his chin and biting his tongue.

But despite the medical report which in which Ms Jayet described the fall, she told the inquest that she never actually saw Leon's fall.

She was adamant Mr Roberts did not hurt Leon and that during the incident he was smoking with her outside.

Mr White continued to question Ms Jayet about witnessing the fall and the previous statements she had given to police about the fall.

She previously admitted to the police that she saw the fall.

"I had [seen it]," she told the inquest. "Like I might not have seen two seconds of it maybe, but I knew that had happened," Ms Jayet said.

Ms Jayet said it was only after Leo's death and the evidence that had been presented since that she accepted Mr Cole's views of Mr Robert's violence towards Leon.

At the end of the hearing Coroner Brigitte Windley reserved her decision.

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