The man charged with the 2014 murder of a 10-month-old told the child’s mother to lie to police and say “he died a natural cot death”.

He also told her it “wouldn’t look good for him, or me” if the toddler’s living arrangements were made known to the police. 

That conversation was revealed by Pamela Stephens, the mother of Karlos Stephens, at the second day of the murder trial of Shane Roberts on Tuesday at the High Court in Rotorua.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF
The trial, at the High Court in Rotorua, is expected to hear evidence from 36 witnesses and last two weeks.

Roberts faces one charge, that on either November 29 or 30, 2014, he murdered the Rotorua toddler.

On the opening day the jury of six men and six women heard that Pamela, already a mother of four, was struggling in the wake of the birth of Karlos​ and his twin brother Hosea​, and had consented to Roberts suggestion he take care of the children.

It was also revealed that on Sunday, November 30, Roberts arrived at Pamela’s property with Karlos unconscious in the car before taking them both to Rotorua Hospital.

Under questioning from Crown prosecutor Amanda Gordon, Stephens revealed a conversation that took place at Rotorua Hospital shortly after the toddler had been pronounced dead.

She said Roberts told her it “wouldn’t look good for him or me, either way, him being left with the twins alone and bringing Karlos to me the way he did”.

“It’d be better to say we were together with Karlos and he died a natural cot death. I felt threatened by him that I’d never see my [other] kids again because of what happened to Karlos, the way he spoke.”

Pamela also told the court what she claimed Roberts said on their arrival at the hospital.

“Tell them I [Pamela] found him lying like that.”

Gordon said that medical evidence would later show Karlos had suffered bleeding across the brain, and had hemorrhages in his retinas, and that the injuries could only have occurred when the child was with either Roberts, or his mother.

The court was also played what Gordon referred to as a “controlled phone call”, a call made by Pamela to Roberts that police recorded on August 31, 2018.

In that call she told Roberts that police had told her “Karlos was killed, he didn’t die from an illness or sickness”.

“We both know that,” he replied. 

Roberts also told her he was “just waiting” for the police to arrest him as they were trying to “pin something”.

“I’m f…… freaking out, but the Coroner’s report is the winner. We’ll just stick to the Coroner, he’s the only one that can help us, the truth is the Coroner.”

When she asked what she should do if the police arrest her, the call ended. 

Under questioning from Roberts’ lawyer Max Simpkins, Pamela agreed she was desperate when she agreed for Roberts to take care of the twins.

She also claimed, for the first time said Simpkins, that she provided Roberts money for the twins upkeep. 

Simpkins also asked her about Child Youth and Family involvement. 

“They never took the boys off Shane though, did they?”

The trial is set to continue and is expected to last two weeks. 



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