A Northampton drug-dealer on trial for the alleged murder of his infant son has taken the stand to say the boy was "his little bestie" and he "would never hurt him".
Raphael Kennedy, 31, is accused of carrying out a brutal attack on two-year-old Dylan at his flat in Arthur Street on December 16, 2017, before waiting two hours to call an ambulance.
Today (October 12), Kennedy took the stand to deny the charge of murder - and claim that someone else must have attacked the toddler on the day of his death.
The court heard how Kennedy had found out Dylan was his son through a DNA test in August 2017.
Kennedy told the jury: "Finding out I was the father of a son meant the world to me... I fell in love with him so fast. He was my little bestie.
"I would never hurt Dylan."
A post-mortem revealed Dylan had 39 recent external injuries when he died, as well as at least 13 broken ribs. The court heard the fractures were caused "upwards of two hours" before death and Dylan would have been in great distress.
Kennedy was Dylan's sole carer the night before and on the day of his death. After putting Dylan to bed on December 15, he spent the evening dealing crack cocaine.
Kennedy's defence barrister Mr Michael Mather-Lees QC asked the 31-year-old: "How do you finance your lifestyle?"
Kennedy said: "I deal drugs... crack-cocaine and heroin."
Kennedy admitted in court today that he would have been responsible for that and was "disgusted" with himself.
Kennedy testified he was woken up at around 10am on December 16 by Dylan, who was in his pyjamas and normally gets up around 7am. Kennedy says he then bathed and fed the boy.
Over the next hour, he left Dylan on his own in the flat on two occasions for between 10 to 15 minutes to deal drugs in the alleyway outside his flatblock. He did not lock the door behind him.
He told the jury he then got Dylan ready to go into town at around 11.45am. Minutes later on the path outside the flat, Kennedy told the jury that Dylan slipped over and banged his chin, leaving a gash.
Kennedy said: "I took him back to the flat and called his mum to let him know what happened... then I put him in my bed and brought him a beaker of orange juice to give him some energy."
Kennedy claims he then spent a few minutes clearing up - but when he checked on his son, he was unresponsive.
He said: "He was unresponsive and floppy. I called [a friend] who told me how to do CPR... and I called an ambulance."
Kennedy called 999 at 12:32pm. Dylan was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead shortly after 1pm. Kennedy was arrested shortly afterwards.
Mr Mather-Lees asked Kennedy: "Did you murder your little boy? [...] Did you in a fit of temper or frustration beat him?"
Kennedy said: "Absolutely not."
Mr Mather-Lees said: "Did you know who did at the time of your police interview?"
Kennedy said: "I did not."
Mr Mather-Lees said: "The evidence has been revealed to you over the course of your case that Dylan was brutally assaulted. Can you think of any reason why at this point?"
Kennedy said: "The only reason I can think is that someone else had been in the flat while I was out [dealing drugs]."
Kennedy testified that his properties had been attacked on three occasions over the past two years. On one occasion, he claims, masked men with knives robbed him of £2,000 worth of crack. Another time, men broke and tried to stab him. He claims he also returned home one day to find his flat had been "smashed up".
He will be cross-examined by prosecutor Mr Jonas Hankin QC on Monday.
The trial continues.