Alfie Phillips trial: Mother accused of baby murder struggled, jury told

A woman accused of murdering her 18-month-old child has told jurors that when he was born she "never felt love like it".

Alfie Phillips died on 28 November 2020 with multiple bruises and fractures, Maidstone Crown Court has heard.

His mother Sian Hedges, 27, and her former partner Jack Benham, 35, deny murdering the boy in a caravan in Kent.

"I'm not going to lie. I struggled but felt like I coped to the best of my ability," Ms Hedges told the court.

Asked if her cocaine use affected how she looked after Alfie, she replied: "Never."

Ms Hedges, from Devon, and Mr Benham are accused of killing Alfie overnight in Benham's caravan in Hernhill, near Faversham.

Jurors have heard Alfie died with over 70 visible wounds, including human bite marks, and many more internal injuries.

Ms Hedges said she and Alfie's father, Sam Phillips, had been "inseparable", but after her mother moved away, the relationship became volatile.

She said she had taken cocaine since age 18 but had never been "a big drinker".

When she found out she was pregnant, she considered an abortion and adoption and took cocaine at the beginning because she was unsure whether she would keep him, but when he was born it was the "most amazing feeling".

Ms Hedges said she "didn't tell the health visitor I was taking drugs. I didn't want social services involved. I didn't want to lose Alfie".

She said she struggled but had her mother on the phone, and Mr Phillips's mother would help.

By Covid lockdown in March 2020, her relationship was "really volatile", she said.

She said: "My anxiety was affected, couldn't get nappies, couldn't get milk, started using more cocaine and antidepressants - cocaine once or twice a week. [I] usually did it when he was in bed, asleep. But I always made sure Alfie was all right."

Ms Hedges said: "I would take Alfie to the beach, he absolutely loved the beach. We'd try and do as much walking as we could."

She said she then met Mr Benham, adding: "It was nice, made me feel good that Jack got on with Alfie, I wanted to leave Sam."

Ms Hedges admitted she lied to family and friends, adding: "I'm not proud of the lies I've told, I'm absolutely ashamed. I was having an affair, seeing two people at the same time, trying to cover both, half the time with Sam, half at Jack's."

The trial continues.

Follow BBC South East on Facebook, on X, and on Instagram. Send your story ideas to