Step-father bullied five-year-old before he was found murdered, court is told

Logan Mwangi was found dumped in a river in Sarn, Bridgend, in July 2021.

04 March 2022

A step-father accused of murdering a five-year-old boy forced him to do press ups when he was “naughty”, a court has been told.

Logan Mwangi was just three when John Cole, 40, inflicted the punishment, a family friend said.

The youngster was found dumped in the River Ogmore about 250 metres from the home he shared with his family in Lower Llansantffraid, Sarn, Bridgend on the morning of July 31 2021.

Logan’s mother Angharad Williamson, 30, her partner Cole, and a 14-year-old boy, who cannot legally be identified, are charged with his murder.

All three are also accused of perverting the course of justice, including by moving Logan’s body to the river, removing his clothing, washing bloodstained bed linen, and falsely reporting him missing.

On Friday, Jodie Simmonds, a friend of Cole and Williamson, claimed Cole bullied Logan and that his mother did nothing to intervene.

She said she once found Logan in his bedroom “in the press-up position”, with Cole sat on the floor blocking the doorway.

“I remember Logan visibly shaking. He was in discomfort clearly. He was very upset and crying. He had a runny nose,” Ms Simmonds said.

“When I asked, (Cole) said he had been naughty and he needed to learn.”

When Logan fell out of the position, Cole told him to “get back in position and the time would start again”, Ms Simmonds said.

When she became angry at Cole, Ms Simmonds said “he just shrugged it off”, adding: “He didn’t seem concerned at all.”

Ms Simmonds said she found Williamson smoking in the garden and was told Logan “needed to learn” because he had been misbehaving.

Logan Mwangi murder trial
A view of the ground floor maisonette where Logan and his family lived (Ben Birchall/PA)

On another occasion, when her family went to Williamson and Cole’s flat to eat food from KFC, Ms Simmonds said Logan was not given any and instead made to sit on the floor.

She said: “(Cole) was going on about how tasty the food was, almost rubbing it in. I shook my head at Angharad over the table, almost saying, ‘Do something.’”

She said Williamson did not react.

Logan became withdrawn over the course of Williamson and Cole’s relationship, losing weight and becoming very pale, Ms Simmonds said.

She said she broke off contact with the couple after seeing Cole try to strangle Williamson during a row, but got in touch after she heard about Logan’s death.

Ms Simmonds and her then-partner Daniel O’Brien visited the couple at Cole’s flat on July 31.

While they were there, police informed Cole and Williamson they would not be allowed to return to the address at Lower Llansantffraid.

“(Williamson) became really angry again,” Ms Simmonds said.

“Her words were, ‘Great, I have no home and a dead son.’”

Both Ms Simmonds and Mr O’Brien recalled Williamson saying she would “miss punishing Logan, miss putting him in the naughty corner, miss him being naughty”.

“I knew something wasn’t right. Dan and I had exchanged many looks and I was very uncomfortable,” Ms Simmonds said.

Boy found dead in river
Tributes left at the scene in the Sarn area of Bridgend, south Wales, near where Logan was found (Ben Birchall/PA)

Kevin Gorman, Cole and Williamson’s upstairs neighbour, said he often heard rows between the couple and also them screaming abuse at Logan.

The elderly man was visibly embarrassed when asked to repeat some of the language he had allegedly heard.

Around two weeks before Logan’s death, Mr Gorman said he heard Williamson yelling: “Logan, I f****** told you to stop your f****** joking. Everyone can f****** hear you.”

On another occasion, he said he saw Logan being made to stand outside, staring at the wall for half an hour bare footed as a punishment.

“It made me feel uncomfortable. There’s no need to say or do that to a child. You don’t act like that,” he said.

Williamson and the youth deny both murder and perverting the course of justice, while Cole denies murder but admits the second charge.

Cole and Williamson face a third charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial continues.

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