A woman has cried at the murder trial of her estranged partner while describing the moment she found her severely disabled son “in a foetal position”.
A woman has cried at the murder trial of her estranged partner while describing the moment she found her severely disabled son “in a foetal position”.

Mum’s tears after finding son dead in bath

A Sydney mother has wept as she told a jury of finding her severely disabled son dead in the bathtub after her estranged partner screamed out to her around two o'clock in the morning.

"He was in a foetal position … curled up," Rebecca Horton testified today in the NSW Supreme Court.

Her former partner, Charlie Younes, 45, has pleaded not guilty to murdering 18-year-old Steven Copo Horton in October 2013 at the Emerton house in Sydney's west that she had just moved into.

Steven was born with severe intellectual and physical disabilities and was incapable of walking and talking, but could move himself about by crawling or shuffling along on his bottom.

Crown prosecutor Rohan Cooley has alleged Younes "used a hand or hands to force, in some fashion, by applying pressure to the neck area of the deceased, force him under the water, thereby in effect drowning him".

Ms Horton said Younes had reacted angrily to her moving into the Emerton house a week before her son's death.

"He wanted me to go back to the other house," she said.

"Then he wanted to move into that house and sell his house … it wasn't going to happen."

Steven Copo Horton was found dead in a bath in 2013. Picture: NSW Police
Steven Copo Horton was found dead in a bath in 2013. Picture: NSW Police

Younes kept on turning up at the new house and had wanted to stay over the night before her son died, but she told him to leave.

"Just after two o'clock in the morning I heard Charlie screaming out my name," she said.

Ms Horton said she jumped out of bed, saw other family members in the hallway and Younes either in the bathroom entrance or more inside the room. Steven, who was wearing his pyjama pants, was in a foetal position in the bath.

She and Younes each grabbed one end of him and rushed into Steven's room and put him on the bed.

"You could tell he had died," she said.

Mr Cooley has told the jury Younes gave three versions about what had happened.

He told ambulance officers something like he had found Steven after waking up and hearing water running.

He told police at the scene he had been watching TV when he heard the water running for some time.

He said he thought Ms Horton was having a shower, but when he went to see what was happening, found Steven's body.

In his later police interview, Younes said he had knocked on the front door as he didn't have a key, but couldn't alert anyone to let him in.

Younes said he thought he heard water running so he went to the back of the house where the bathroom was located, "shimmied up" through an open window and discovered Steven dead in the bath.

The trial is continuing before Acting Justice Peter Hidden.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 


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