Jurors urged to be given 'more support' while hearing 'harrowing' Logan Mwangi murder case
The five-year-old was found dead in a river just a few hundred metres from his family home
An academic has urged for more emotional support to be given to jurors currently hearing evidence in the Logan Mwangi case, a five-year-old boy who was murdered in July 2021.
The young boy's body was found in the River Ogmore in Sarn, not more than a few hundred metres from his family home in Bridgend county, south-east Wales.
His mother, Angharad Williamson (31) stepdad John Cole (40) and a 14-year-old boy were found guilty of his murder following an eight-week trial that concluded on Thursday and proceedings at Cardiff Crown Court are said to have been paused several times when jurors found details including photographic and video evidence surrounding Logan's death too distressing.
Professor Noelle Robertson, an expert in clinical psychology at the University of Leicester, said that while the majority of people on the jury's feelings would diminish over time, a small minority risk being "really profoundly affected".
"During difficult trials, it would not be unusual for people to be experiencing some degree of emotional disturbance", she told the BBC, adding that beyond simply feeling sad, "you might feel flat, you might notice that your sleep was disturbed, you might feel restless, you might feel physical tension."
She went on to warn that jurors can "continue to have intrusive thoughts about the process... have flashbacks" and "might re-imagine images they've seen [which] continue to intrude into their lives".
Audio of the 999-call, as well as the moment officers arrested the three individuals, both of which featured as part of the evidence witnessed by the jurors can be seen below.
Warning – distressing images:
Logan's body was found having suffered 56 external injuries and after police became suspicious upon noting details such as his bedsheets being in the wash upon their arrival.
Despite his mother alleging another woman had abducted him, stepdad Cole ultimately confessed after being spotted on CCTV in the early hours of the morning disposing of the five-year-old's body in a sports bag and dumping it.
Professor Robertson goes on to suggest that, "inevitably with something that is so awful as the apparent sustained neglect, abuse and murder of a child it is truly horrible for people to have to adjudicate on that", adding that crimes against children or vulnerable individuals are particularly difficult for jurors given our preconceptions what we expect from them as caregivers.
Moreover, Robertson raised the issue that cases like these can cause significant personal issues among jurors with their own "unexplored trauma history" and suggests that more needs to be done to prepare civilians to serve on a jury - pointing to resources such as the Supporting You Through Jury Service as a valuable tool.
She sums things up by declaring that "there has to be provision for a referral for those who are particularly adversely affected". A spokesperson for the HM Courts & Tribunals Service responded by insisting: "We recognise the importance of well-being throughout the process.
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