South East Wales

Tonypandy toddler Finley Thomas 'murdered with a chair'

Finley Thomas Image copyright Wales News Service

A garden chair was used to murder a 17-month-old Rhondda Cynon Taff toddler by his mother's lover - and she lied to cover it up, a court has heard.

Finley Thomas suffered "catastrophic" head injuries in the alleged "deliberate and vicious" attack by Sean Buckley, 28, at his Tonypandy home.

Mother Chloe Thomas, 25, claimed he fell down the stairs.

Mr Buckley denies murder at Cardiff Crown Court, while they both deny cruelty to a young person under 16.

Roger Thomas QC showed the jury a garden chair which he said was responsible for causing significant injuries on the back of Finley's head.

"Whether he was hit with it or it was propped against a surface or wall and he was struck against it we can't say," he said.

"That's the chair that caused the damage."

The jury was told the chair was found near the back door in the house. The patterning on it matched two distinct lines of patterned bruising on the back of Finley's head.

Image copyright Wales News Service

Finley was born on 30 April 2013 and was last seen by a GP in July 2014 and until that time, no child protection issues had been identified.

The couple got together that summer and the court heard she was "completely infatuated" with him.

Mr Thomas said on 23 September 2014 she made a 999 call and told the operator her son had "banged his head" at her home and was "lying floppy".

He added: "Sean Buckley was standing close by when the call was made. He was heard to say 'he fell from the top to the bottom of the stairs'. These were wicked and quite deliberate lies."

Finley was first taken to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital before being transferred to the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.

A 10cm by 10cm (3.9in by 3.9in) swelling was later found on the back of the child's head as well as bruising on one of his ears.

A number of those injuries were described as being caused in the weeks before he died.

Doctors were told by both defendants they had not seen the fall, but that Finley had "fallen down the stairs before".

The jury was told Finley had bumps and marks on his body which "should not be found on any child" and that no proper explanation was given.

The trial continues.

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