Woman 'gave baby bleach in bottle', court told
A woman gave the baby of a complete stranger a feeding bottle containing bleach, a court heard today.
The 11-month-old boy drank some of the liquid and vomited after being handed the bottle in a branch of McDonald's, Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Elaine Joyner, 53, of Vaughan Williams Close, Deptford, south-east London, is charged with administering a poison or noxious substance so as to endanger life.
Judge Andrew Lees ruled today that she was unfit to plead and a trial to decide whether she carried out the act went ahead in her absence.
Peter Clark, prosecuting, told the jury of five men and seven women that the incident took place on September 13 last year in a branch of McDonald's in Eltham, south east London.
"Elaine Joyner, say the prosecution, gave to a complete stranger's baby a feeding bottle that contained a poisonous or noxious substance, a fluid that contained bleach, or something very similar.
"The baby, who was 11 and a half months old, took some of that fluid in his mouth and was immediately rendered ill by it. He retched and vomited over himself and turned very pale."
His grandmother seized it from the pram to prevent further harm, Mr Clark said.
Happily, the baby had made a good recovery with no long term ill effects.
"Ingestion of bleach can prove fatal, and in the case of such a young child is particularly hazardous."
He told the jury there were "disturbing circumstances", and it was important they decide what happened in the incident.
Mr Clark said there was good quality CCTV from McDonald's, which did not show the precise handing of the bottle, which was just out of shot, but one could see the frame of the pram.
"You see someone passing a bottle, and you can be sure it's Elaine Joyner," he told the jury.
At the defendant's home was located distinctive clothing and a carrier bag she had worn and carried that day, counsel added.
Other CCTV footage showed her in the street, walking with a distinctive "waddle", and going into McDonald's.
A statement from the child's grandmother was read which said she was looking after the baby in McDonald's while his mother was at the counter and she saw him retching and dribbling.
"I reached for a bottle that was in his pram. As I looked into it I noticed it was orange in colour with white milk particles in it. It was extremely frothy on the top.
"I realised that he had drunk something that we had not given him.
"Three black girls said that a woman had walked past and given him a bottle."
The mother made a statement in which she said: "Some random person had given my baby a bottle, which he had drunk from and was vomiting.
"As far as I was concerned, my baby had been poisoned."
A statement was read from Joyner's partner Fred Warwick, 68.
He had gone out that day and Joyner told him she would be at home for most of the day and watching the racing.
She told him as they were having tea in the evening that she had "popped out" to Eltham.
"Elaine didn't tell me what time she left or what time she arrived home," he said.