TODAY marks two years since the tragic death of a toddler who was murdered by the woman who wanted to adopt him.

On the second anniversary of the death of Leiland-James Corkill, The Mail is looking back at the tragic sequence of events which led to his murder.

Leiland-James was placed with Laura Castle and her husband Scott Castle by authorities in Barrow less than five months before his death from catastrophic head injuries.

The youngster was a "looked-after child" who was taken into care at birth before he was approved to live with his prospective adoptive parents from August 2020.

On the morning of January 6 2021, Laura Castle rang for an ambulance and reported Leiland-James had fallen off the sofa, injured his head and was struggling to breathe.

However, hospital medics raised concerns as the extent of his injuries did not match her account.

Leiland-James died the following day as Laura Castle maintained to police, as well as family and friends, that the death was a tragic accident while her husband, a night shift worker, was asleep.

READ MORE: The crimes that shocked Barrow in 2022

She stuck to her story until the day the jury was sworn in in April last year for her trial at Preston Crown Court when she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Medical experts told the court though that the degree of force required to cause Leiland-James' injuries would have been "severe" and likely to be a combination of shaking and an impact with a solid surface.

Prosecutor Michael Brady QC said it was the Crown's case she killed the boy as she lost her temper and suggested she smashed the back of his head against a piece of furniture.

Jurors took just two-and-half hours to convict her of murder. She was also convicted of child cruelty against Leiland-James.

On May 25 2021, Castle was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years for the murder of Leiland-James.

Following her sentencing, Cumbria County Council apologised for the toddler’s death, asserting that ‘it should not have happened’.

John Readman, the council's executive director for people, said: "Adoption should have been a new beginning for Leiland.

"That was cruelly taken away from him by the person who should have cared for him and kept him safe.

"We are deeply sorry for Leiland's death, it should not have happened.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with his birth family and all those who knew this little boy.

"Abuse of a child by adopters is almost unheard of and we are determined to do everything we can to prevent this happening again, here or anywhere else."

READ MORE: Laura Castle jailed for at least 18 years for murder of Leiland-James Corkill

Detective Superintendent Dave Pattinson, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: "No child should ever have to experience the sustained abuse Leiland-James suffered. He was only 13 months old, and he was completely defenceless.

“I hope the manner in which it this has been dealt with and the outcome, will reassure the public that the Constabulary will act robustly and bring those responsible for such abuse to justice.”