Judge tells Tyler’s ‘grotesquely’ violent killer: ‘I entertain a lingering suspicion that you inflicted more blows than you have admitted and that may be why Tyler appears to have said nothing to his mother’
TRAGEDY: Tyler Whelan, far right, and his mother Stephanie who was convicted of allowing the youngster’s death.
A JUDGE has said he has suspicions child killer Elvis Lee inflicted more blows on tragic Tyler Whelan during his vicious assault.
Mr Justice Nicol, who handed Lee a life sentence at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday, also described Lee’s actions as “a gross breach of trust” and “grotesquely inappropriate” during the hearing.
Lee was told he would serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years in prison and be eligible for parole in 16 years 119 days as he has served 429 days on remand since his arrest.
Lee (34), of Crabtree, Paston, Peterborough wore a dark grey jumper, jeans and black ear stud for the hearing and sat through much of the sentencing, showing no emotion as the judge outlined the facts of the case.
He was convicted by a jury on Monday of murdering five-year-old Tyler on March 7, 2011 after biting his leg and kicking him in the stomach.
The kick required such a severe force, his small bowel was crushed against his spine, causing it to split. Tyler also suffered a brain injury on the morning he died.
Mr Justice Nicol said: “Tyler was found to have a number of other recent bruises and abrasions on his head, face and body. You have admitted no other assaults and it is not at all clear how he came by them.
“I entertain a lingering suspicion that you inflicted more blows than you have admitted and that may be why Tyler appears to have said nothing to his mother when she returned from taking the other children to school, despite having suffered such serious internal damage.”
The court heard on Monday how Lee had been convicted of 56 other offences, including violent crimes in 1999, 2003 and 2010.
Mr Justice Nicol said aspects of the case concerned him.
He said: “In your case, the aggravating features are that Tyler was so young. He was particularly vul- nerable because of his age, because he was only half your height and a quarter of your weight.
“He was also in your care. But instead of caring for him, you grievously injured him. That was a gross breach of the trust which he should have been entitled to place in you.
“Further, you have admitted biting Tyler on the leg before you kicked him. That bite didn’t break the skin but as you admitted, it was far more than a playful bite. It left marks of individual teeth. You said that it was to teach Tyler a lesson not to bite other children, but it was a grotesquely inappropriate way for an adult to behave towards a child.”
The judge also said the fact Lee was barefoot at the time of the kick was partly an aggravating feature.
He said: “I have accepted it was not your intention to kill Tyler. Nor was this a premeditated assault – it was the product of an outburst of a spontaneous loss of temper.
“You had no shoes on at the time you kicked Tyler. But that fact cuts both ways.
“It means your assault did not make use of a weapon, which a shod foot surely is, but on the other hand, a bare foot would require greater force to bring about the level of injury which you caused.”
After the verdict Tyler’s father, Shaun Harrison, spoke of his “unbearable” loss and Mr Justice Nicol paid tribute to Tyler and the way his family have acted during the case.
He said: “His life was cut abruptly short, It has been a tragedy for his father, for his mother, and for the rest of his family.
“His father has spoken eloquently of the grief which he has had to bear. It is a tragedy which you have brought about.”
Tyler’s mother, Stephanie Whelan was convicted of allowing the death of a child on Monday. She will be sentenced in June.
Both Whelan and Lee were cleared of cruelty to a child.
LIFE SENTENCE: Elvis Lee (left) who murdered Tyler Whelan.
TRAGIC: Tyler Whelan (5) above, died after being kicked and his mother Stephanie Whelan, above right
JAILED: Elvis Lee who kicked Tyler