Children were my world, says murder accused

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A FATHER accused of driving his car into a freezing river in an attempt to murder his two children has told a jury: “They were my world.”

Christopher Grady’s five-year-old daughter Gabrielle died after being trapped underwater.

His then six-year-old son Ryan, who was on the back seat of the car when it began to sink, was rescued by police divers.

Grady, who allegedly rang their mother warning her she had seconds to say goodbye to her children, denies murder and attempted murder.

Yesterday, at the start of the defence in his trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Grady, who denies charges of murder and attempted murder, was asked by his lawyer Timothy Raggatt QC how he felt about Ryan and Gabrielle.

“They were my world, I loved them,” he replied, adding “I had five children and I loved all of my children more than anything in the world. I still do.”

Grady told the court he had been taking anti-depressant medication prescribed by a doctor “probably for about the last two-and-a-half or three years.”

The 42-year-old, who also has three children from a previous relationship, said towards the end of 2009 his ex-partner Kim Smith, 37, the mother of Gabrielle and Ryan, was “trying to stop me seeing the kids completely”.

“It just ground me down, it got worse and worse..

“I felt like I didn’t want to live. I felt like there was nothing left but I always knew the children needed me, all five of them.”

The court has heard that Gabrielle spent two hours submerged in the River Avon in Evesham, Worcestershire, stuck in her father’s car after he drove into the water on February 11 last year. She died three days later.

The jurors have heard that Grady and Ms Smith had a “volatile” relationship and often argued about his access to their children.

Giving evidence to the court last week, Miss Smith said Grady had warned her she had 10 seconds to “say goodbye” to their children before driving away, calling out the word “river”.

Miss Smith cried and held her head in her hands as she told the jury of five men and seven women: “The last thing he said to me was ‘river’. His face was all contorted – vile.”

The court heard Grady’s life “started to unravel” at the beginning of 2010.

Jurors heard he had been evicted from his home because of rent arrears and owed £2,800 to Robert Lewis, landlord of his business premises.

Grady told the court he could remember little about how he ended up in the river: “I can remember vaguely driving round the field, just driving round the field.”

Recalling the moment his car hit the water, he said: “I just heard a really strange noise, like a catherine wheel, and I now know that was when the car had took off. And there was a big bang.”

Grady told the court he accepted he was “totally to blame” for Gabby’s death but said he considered the tragedy “an accident” because he had not intended to kill her.

He added: “I have spent the last 12 months trying to think of a word stronger than sorry and I just can’t find one.”