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Sister haunted by death of toddler ‘thrown down stairs’

The sister of a toddler allegedly thrown down the stairs by their stepfather in 1986 said yesterday she still had haunting memories of his death.

Mark Harrison suffered weeks of physical abuse from Stephen Knox before he pushed the screaming toddler down the stairs at his home, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Unemployed Knox, now 53, is said to have threatened Mark's sister Kerry Harrison, who was only three-and-a-half at the time, with the same fate if she told anyone about the toddler's fall.

She told the court when she shut her eyes she could remember her brother screaming as he rolled down the stairs towards her at Knox's home in Leicester.

The toddler died hours later on December 12, 1986, from a brain haemorrhage at the house he lived in with Knox, his mother Margaret and sister Kerry Harrison. The court heard that despite Mark being found with bruises all over his face, neck and back, a coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death in 1987 after Knox told police the toddler slipped and accidentally fell down a few steps at the house.

Mark also had an injury at the back of his head which could not be explained by a short fall down stairs, the court heard.

It was only when Kerry Harrison, now 26, sought help for mental health problems in January 2007 that she finally divulged her “haunting” secret and police launched an investigation.

Knox is currently on bail. The case continues today.

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