Belfast Telegraph

Jailed for 17 years... the brutal, lying thug who killed his baby son in a fit of temper

By Sarah Rainey

A father who showed no remorse after murdering his baby son will serve at least 17 years behind bars, a judge has said.

Ryan Leslie was given two life sentences for attacking 14-week-old Cameron, who died of severe injuries after being rushed to hospital in September 2008.

The 26-year-old, from Newtownabbey in Co Antrim, was found guilty of killing his son and causing him grievous bodily harm.

At a hearing at Belfast Crown Court yesterday Mr Justice Stephens said Leslie was a “dishonest and deeply manipulative individual”.

He said he had told “preposterous and farcical” lies to avoid being caught for his crime, which he continued to deny.

“You delayed seeking medical assistance, knowing that once you did so your brutality to Cameron could well be discovered,” the judge said.

“Not only did you inflict horrific and fatal injuries on your son, but you failed to obtain the medical treatment that you knew he so desperately needed, and you did this for your selfish ends.

“Even when your son looked dead at 5am you were unmoved.”

Cameron died on September 6, 2008, shortly after being rushed to Antrim Area Hospital from Leslie’s flat in Ballyvesey Green, Newtownabbey.

The court heard that he had been staying with his father just days after Leslie made an attempt at suicide.

The baby suffered 14 broken ribs, bruising to his legs, torso and chin, and a serious head injury that caused his brain to swell.

Leslie said his son had hit his head on a plastic bath and claimed the rib fractures occurred when he tried to perform CPR.

Mr Justice Stephens accepted that Leslie did not set out to kill his child, but said his failure to admit responsibility was an aggravating factor.

“You gave your backing to a story which you knew to be untrue with complete conviction and with authority,” he said.

“You simply lost your temper with your 14-week-old baby, your son, in response to him crying.”

He barred Leslie for life from working with, or seeking to work with, children or vulnerable adults.

The judge said the real impact of the murder had been on Cameron’s mother, Leslie’s former partner Sheree Black, and her family.

“No judge could fail to be moved by their sensitive and eloquent statements,” he added.

“I am satisfied that the consequences for both of them, particularly Sheree Black, are of a marked and enduring character.

“They do not have the consolation of an honest explanation from you as to what occurred and why it occurred.”

As Leslie was led away from the dock, an emotional Miss Black was supported by friends and family members who shouted insults at her former partner.

The court heard that Leslie was “an angry individual” who had been violent towards his partner while she was pregnant.

He had admitted in evidence to physically assaulting her on several occasions, including kicking her and dragging her by the hair.

Background

Cameron Jay Leslie died in 2008 after suffering severe injuries. A post-mortem found 14 fractured ribs and bruises to his legs, torso, neck and chin. He died from a blow to the head, which caused his brain to swell up and cut off oxygen supply to his brain stem. His father, Ryan Leslie, denied any involvement in his death, but a jury unanimously found him guilty of murder and grievous bodily harm.

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