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'Evil monster' murdered baby boy

An "evil monster" who filmed shocking video clips as he abused a screaming 15-month-old boy has been jailed for life for the toddler's murder.

Darren Newton, who was ordered to serve a minimum 24 years before parole, appeared a loving father figure to Charlie Hunt, the son of his partner Laura Chapman, but hid his "dark and wicked side".

The 32-year-old took pleasure in slapping and hitting Charlie whenever left alone with the child, filming the attacks on his mobile phone and keeping the clips for his own enjoyment, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Jurors and court staff were left visibly shocked as Charlie's screams and cries rang out when the clips were played of Newton abusing the sobbing child.

The factory worker gave the clips titles, including "Crying, no toys in pen, ahhhh", "Squeezing toe in cot", "Two minutes of pain" and "Shivering no water", taken on a November night when Charlie was naked in an empty bath. In one graphic clip titled "Happy Slap", filmed two weeks before Charlie died and a precursor to the fatal attack, Newton is seen to slap the child 13 times on the head as he screams and cries.

Newton, from Earby, Lancashire, had admitted 12 counts of child cruelty which were caught on camera and found by police after his arrest. A jury took 40 minutes to find him guilty of a further count of child cruelty and of Charlie's murder.

Charlie's parents have branded Newton "evil" and a "monster". Newton sat expressionless, staring blankly ahead, as the guilty verdict for murder was returned and made no reaction as he was jailed for life.

Mr Justice Stephen Irwin told the defendant: "It was spiteful and cruel behaviour. Anyone who watches the video clips of some of what you did - and I'm convinced you recorded only some of what you did - will genuinely struggle to understand why you came to do this.

"Eventually you killed him. It was a futile and wasteful death of an innocent toddler. He was too young to tell his mother what you were doing, so she could prevent it. And your course of conduct was deliberate and sustained cruelty."

Mr Justice Irwin also ordered the video clips be preserved so the parole board could watch them before he was eventually considered for release.

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