Child killer Leslie will serve a life sentence
A judge has told a 26-year-old father he will serve a life sentence for the brutal murder of his baby son, Cameron Jay Leslie, who died after suffering a severe blow to his head.
There were shouts, claps and loud cheers at Belfast Crown Court yesterday as Ryan John Leslie, from Ballyvesey Green in New Mossley, Newtownabbey, was found guilty of murdering his 14-week-old baby in September 2008.
The jury took nearly four hours to reach a unanimous verdict on the two charges against Leslie. They found him guilty of murder and grievous bodily harm with intent after a trial which ran for nearly six weeks. Grim-faced Leslie shook his head from side to side as the forewoman read out the guilty verdicts.
Dressed in a dark suit, tie and shirt, Leslie nodded as Mr Justice Stephens addressed him.
“Your defence involved the proposition that you were a victim, wrongly accused, and also a grieving father who deserved sympathy,” the judge said. “The truth is you brutalised and murdered a 14-week-old baby — your son — and for that I sentence you to life imprisonment.”
The public gallery erupted again with cheers and claps from relatives and friends of the baby’s mother, Sheree Black.
Security personnel intervened to prevent a scuffle between Leslie’s family and Ms Black’s family. One of Leslie’s brother’s shouted angrily and stormed out of the gallery.
Leslie’s parents and sister broke down in tears.
The accused turned round in the dock to look at his parents and shook his head from side to side again before he was led away.
During the trial the court heard that Cameron was admitted first to Antrim Area Hospital on September 4, 2008, and then transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, where he died two days later as a result of a severe head injury.
A post-mortem examination found Cameron had also suffered a total of 14 rib fractures and had bruising over many parts of his body.
Pre-sentence reports were requested and Leslie is due to appear in court on March 18 for formal sentencing.