Tyler Whelan death: Elvis Lee found guilty of murder

media captionArrangements for safeguarding children in Peterborough have been criticised

A Peterborough man has been found guilty of murdering his partner's five-year-old son.

Elvis Lee, 34, kicked and bit Tyler Whelan, who died in hospital in March 2011 after collapsing at his home in Sheepwalk, Paston.

Tyler's mother, Stephanie Whelan, 27, was found guilty of causing or allowing his death. Both had denied the charges.

The boy suffered "blunt force trauma" to the head and abdomen, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Tyler's death followed three earlier admissions to hospital.

Doctors were so concerned about an incident in June the previous year in which he suffered a broken leg that they contacted social services, but it was later decided no intervention was needed.

His injuries at the time of his death included 18 to his face and neck, 17 to his body, 10 to his arms and hands, and 13 to his legs, including a human bite mark.

'Want him dead'

A Serious Case Review has been published and states there were "numerous missed opportunities" to help Tyler, and "concern that no professional ever saw him in the family home".

During the trial, prosecutor Christopher Donnellan said that on the day of his death Tyler was covered in severe bruises after he was kicked, hit and bitten by Lee.

He told jurors Whelan knew Lee was capable of violence as she had suffered a series of attacks.

image captionElvis Lee and Stephanie Whelan were in a love/hate relationship, the court heard

In evidence, Lee said that Tyler had hurt himself after falling off a breakfast bar on the morning of his death.

He admitted that he kicked and bit Tyler later that day after he had hidden behind a chair as Lee called for him.

In a statement read to jurors, Whelan said Lee had seemed "normal" on the day of Tyler's death.

Told Lee may be responsible for the death, she said: "If he's the one that hurt my baby, I want him dead.

"My little boy didn't deserve it. He was so special, he was my rock."

Whelan, of Sheepwalk, but originally from Wigan, and Lee, of Crabtree, Paston, were each cleared of two counts of cruelty or neglect relating to their failure to seek prompt medical attention on previous occasions.

A further charge of neglect against each of them was withdrawn.

'Lost without him'

Whelan sobbed and hung her head as the verdict was delivered.

Lee shouted at jurors and protested his innocence as they left the courtroom.

The court heard Lee had 56 previous offences, including dishonesty, affray and violence.

Police had been alerted to alleged attacks by him on Whelan but he was never convicted.

The judge ordered that the pair be remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.

Tyler's father Shaun Harrison said: "The last year of my life has been unbearable. Tyler was a fun-loving, mischievous little boy with a big heart and amazing smile.

"I feel lost without him in my life and I still can't believe he's gone.

"It hurts me that I will never get the chance to see him grow up and see the man he should have become."

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