A police officer has described the moment she found a five-year-old alleged murder victim dead in a river “submerged under the water”.
Logan Mwangi was found dead on July 31 last year in the River Ogmore near Pandy Park in Bridgend. The schoolboy had suffered injuries one pathologist described as “so extreme you would expect to find them as a result of a fall from a great height or a high-velocity road traffic accident”.
Logan’s mother Angharad Williamson, 30, of Lower Llansantffraid, Sarn, Bridgend, and stepdad John Cole, 40, of Maesglas, Ynysawdre, Bridgend, deny his murder. A third defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons due to his age, has also pleaded not guilty to murder.
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All three are also accused of perverting the course of justice, including moving Logan’s body to the river near Pandy Park, removing his clothing, washing bloodstained bed linen, and making a false missing person report to police.
Williamson and the youth pleaded not guilty to both offences while Cole denied murder but admitted perverting the course of justice.
Williamson and Cole were also charged with causing or allowing the death of a child, which they both denied.
Prosecutor Caroline Rees QC said the little boy’s injuries were from “blunt force trauma”. As she opened the case she said it was the prosecution’s case that Logan had been submitted to a “brutal and sustained assault” by John Cole and the teenage boy on July 30 while he was “hidden from view, behind closed doors” while self-isolating after having contracted Covid-19.
An apparently distraught Williamson reported Logan missing at 5.45am on July 31, accusing a woman she did not like of kidnapping him, the court was told.
Williamson’s 999 call and the faked search for Logan were described by Ms Rees as a “callous” and “elaborate” attempt to cover up the trio’s role in his death.
PC Lauren Keen, the South Wales Police officer who discovered Logan’s body in the River Ogmore, gave evidence at the trial on Monday.
The officer was on duty on the morning of July 31, 2021, and attended the Sarn area of Bridgend following reports of a missing five-year-old boy.
She started her search at 5.55am in Sarn and began an area search of Pandy Park. The officer walked a perimeter of the park before locating Logan in the river at around 6.10am.
PC Keen said: “PCSO [Peter] Freeth said he entered a hedge opening and said he could see a child laying in the river. Straightaway, I was five metres away, I ran straight over to his location and activated my body-worn camera.
“I walked down a muddy embankment, it was six foot long, there were two large boulders four foot into the river…
“Logan was laying on his right side in an open foetal position. He was submerged under the water.”
Ms Rees asked the witness: “What did you do?”
PC Keen said: “I went into the water, took three strides to get where he was, and picked Logan up in my arms and took him up to where PCSO Freeth was.”
Ms Rees said: “Could you see his face?”
PC Keen said: “I wasn’t able to see his face initially until I picked him up. I could see he had an injury to the left side of his face, his eyes were open, his body was stiff, his lips were blue. Immediately I formed the opinion Logan was deceased.”
Video footage was then played to the court of PC Keen discovering Logan in the river. Williamson sobbed in the dock as the footage was played.
PC Keen passed Logan to PCSO Freeth and was able to get him out of the river so they could commence CPR and an ambulance was called.
PC Keen added: “In my immediate opinion Logan was already deceased but I was going to try my best until paramedics arrived.”
Footage of the CPR being commenced on Logan was played to the court with the clip blurred so the schoolboy’s body was not visible.
On the footage two voices can be heard shouting “Logan” in the background. It is believed this is John Cole and the youth defendant.
PCSO Freeth also gave evidence on Monday and described the moment he initially spotted Logan’s body.
Describing the moment he discovered Logan, PCSO Freeth said: “We could see a three or four-foot gap in the metal fencing…
“I climbed through the gap – the water was just in front of me. As I looked down I could see a child’s body lying in the water on its right side in a foetal position. It was submerged in the water and a few feet from the bank.
“I panicked first of all as I didn’t expect to see what I saw in there… I went back and called for PC [Lauren] Keen and let her knew where I was and both went down the bank to the river…
“[PC Keen] ran back to where I was and ran down the bank into the water. I went to the edge of the water and she passed Logan up to me. I lifted him by his arms and spun him round onto the bank.”
Asked about whether he could hear male voices during the time he and his colleague were carrying out CPR PCSO Freeth said: “I was conscious throughout my whole time in the park there were male voices shouting ‘Logan’.”
Paramedic Mark Howells attended the scene on a ‘red call’ which is the highest possible category and indicates the patient is in a life-threatening state.
Asked about Logan’s appearance Mr Howells said his skin was “pale and mottled” and added: “He was very blue in colour and he had a bruise above his left eye. Probably the length of his eyebrow.”
He said the little boy’s eyes were “partially open” and were “dilated and fixed”.
The court heard Logan was “profoundly hypothermic” and had the lowest body temperature Mr Howells had seen in his career.
The trial, expected to last around eight weeks, continues.
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