Man killed baby in campaign of ‘sadistic’ abuse after sending torture meme to his mother
A former caretaker has been found guilty of killing his girlfriend’s young son after a campaign of “sadistic” abuse.
Drug addict Jake Drummond, 33, fatally shook and hit 15-month-old Jacob Lennon early on August 27 2019, leaving him with a face like a “panda”, the Old Bailey heard.
In the weeks before, Jacob suffered yet more injuries to his face, body and genitals while the boy’s mother Louise Lennon, 32, failed to stop it, jurors were told.
Jacob was taken out of bed and shaken and hit so severely he fell unconscious.
Five days before the killing, Drummond sent Lennon a sinister message saying he was putting Jacob into the “torture chamber” in reference to his bedroom, jurors heard.
It followed a meme of the Hollywood actor Ben Stiller in the film Happy Gilmore with the quote: “Now you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep.”
In another message, Lennon referred to Jacob as looking like “a little madman” because of his bruises.
The pair had denied wrongdoing and blamed each other for Jacob’s horrific injuries.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Drummond was found guilty of murder and wounding Jacob with intent. Lennon, was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child having earlier admitted child cruelty.
Social services had placed Jacob under a child protection plan under the category of emotional abuse in December 2018, the court heard.
But on August 20 2019 Lennon lied to the social worker by saying she was on holiday in Hastings to skip a planned visit.
Meanwhile, Drummond had already embarked on “a campaign of deliberately assaulting and hurting Jacob”, prosecutor Sally O’Neill KC had said.
Drummond was frustrated at Jacob staying in bed with him and Lennon rather than his cot as the defendant struggled with sleeplessness due to his cocaine habit.
On the day before the fatal attack, Drummond was also angered at having to go to a police station after a former girlfriend accused him of harassing her in a way that was “little short of obsessive”.
Jacob’s mother concocted a story for emergency services that Jacob had fallen out of his cot and claimed he had tripped on the way from a supermarket back to their flat in Roehampton, south-west London, days before, the court heard.
Medics found Jacob’s eyes were so swollen they could not open and he “looked like a panda”.
He had more bruises on his forehead, temples and cheeks and his skull was described as being soft and spongy.
Jacob, who was later found to have traces of cocaine in his body, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead just over an hour later.
A post-mortem examination found he died from a fatal head injury, likely from being hit against a blunt surface while being shaken.
Some of his injuries were inflicted days or weeks before the final assault.
Ms O’Neill told jurors: “There were 20 marks of recent injury on Jacob’s head, face and neck, 11 to his upper limbs, seven to his lower limbs and seven to his trunk.”
The pathologist identified a “gaping” 3cm long cut to Jacob’s penis from “extreme pinching” or “biting” and a wound to his scrotum.
The prosecutor said: “The injury to the scrotum was a penetrating injury as a result of penetration by a semi-sharp or sharp object such as a small-bladed weapon including a skewer or similar in preceding days.”
The injuries to Jacob’s genitals were said to be “sadistic” and were the subject of Drummond’s wounding charge.
A pathologist rejected a claim the cut could have been caused by a Toy Story themed “Mr Potato Head” plastic knife.
Drummond denied that he injured Jacob and Lennon said she was being “coerced and threatened” by her boyfriend into not getting help for her son.
The jury deliberated over two days to find the pair guilty of the charges against them.
Mr Justice Sweeting adjourned sentencing until April 24 for reports to be prepared. Lennon was granted continued bail and Drummond was remanded into custody.