Thursday, 31 March 2011

AHT: Northern Ireland: Ryan Leslie sentenced

30 March 2011

A 26-year-old man has been sentenced to 17 years in jail for murdering his baby son nearly three years ago.
    Cameron killer sentenced
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Ryan Leslie, from Ballyvesey Green in Newtonabbey was unanimously convicted of murdering and causing grievous bodily harm to his son Cameron Jay Leslie in September 2008.
During the trial the court heard that Cameron, who had 14 fractured ribs, had suffered blunt force trauma to his head which caused his brain to swell - leading to his death in hospital two days later in September 2008.

Leslie's 17 year sentence is the minimum tariff he will serve before he is considered for release.
Outside court, UTV reporter Sharon O'Neill said: "This is an absolutely horrific case and it must be stressed that the injuries inflicted by Leslie on his own son - who was just 14 weeks old were horrific".
It emerged in court that Leslie was a violent man who attacked Sheree Black when she was carrying baby Cameron, and went on to kill his own son.
Sharon O’Neill
Baby Cameron's mother Sheree Black met Leslie when she was just 15-years-old and fell pregnant when she was 17.
Passing sentence Mr Justice Stephens said that Leslie, whose current partner is expecting their first child, had shown no insight or remorse for his actions and had shown himself to be a violent individual unable to control his temper.
Speaking outside court, Sheree Black said the term handed down to "beast" Leslie "will never be enough to bring Cameron back - life should mean life".
"He should never ever be allowed out for what he has done but I'm satisfied with what the judge said and he did sum him up - he is a beast," said Miss Black.
She said that while Leslie was violent towards her during their turbulent relationship and even while she was pregnant, "I thought he would never do anything to Cameron but that's not something I will ever let happen again."
Asked if she would ever forget, or even forgive Leslie for what he subjected her and her son to, Miss Black told the gathered reporters: "I will never get over what happened to me. It's something I will never ever forget - everyday I wake up and it's what I think about.
I will never ever forgive him - 17 years down the line I will still feel how I feel today.
Sheree Black, Cameron’s mother
Ms Black added that her "whole life" had been robbed from her, including the chance to be a "good mother to Cameron".
"It's coming up to Mother's Day on Sunday and it doesn't get any easier. It makes me angry. I just hope I can find happiness which I think I will."
The judge added Leslie had told "preposterous and farcical" lies to police in his attempts to avoid detection.
He was, said Mr Justice Stephens, a dishonest and deeply manipulative individual.
Neil Anderson, from the NSPCC in Northern Ireland, said: "Our sympathies are with the family of baby Cameron. While their loss will be undiminished by today's decision, we welcome the fact that his father's sentence reflects the seriousness of this case.

"The brutal death of this 14-week old baby highlights the vulnerability of children under the age of one, and in particular the chilling consequences of 'shaken baby syndrome'.

"Cameron Leslie, a defenceless child, died after suffering at the hands of the person who should have been giving him love, care and protection - his father".

The NSPCC Northern Ireland is currently delivering programmes of group-work intervention for fathers who have displayed controlling, physically or emotionally abusive and neglectful behaviours with the aim of bringing about change in parenting behaviours.
"Unfortunately this is a largely hidden form of child abuse, as doctors can struggle to identify outward signs of injury. While it is impossible for such young children to speak out, neighbours, relatives and family friends can often be the eyes and ears which protect a child", Mr Anderson said.

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