A couple who babysat a three year old boy have been found guilty of murder and child cruelty after he died in their care.
Christopher Taylor and Kayley Boleyn neglected, abused and beat Ryan Lovell-Hancox in an attack at their flat in Bilston, West Midlands, in December 2008. He died in hospital on Christmas Eve.
Both defendants initially claimed that Ryan, who suffered more than 70 injuries, had hit his head after falling in the bath, but later changed their accounts in police interviews, the court heard.
During the four-week trial, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that Ryan’s mother was paying around £40 a week for Taylor, 25, and Boleyn, 19, to babysit Ryan while she redecorated her home. The pair, who will be sentenced later this year, had been looking after Ryan for almost a month when they seriously assaulted him at their flat on December 22, 2008. He died two days later.
Christopher Hotten, QC, for the prosecution, said that Ryan’s mother, Amy Hancox, was struggling to cope with looking after Ryan on her own when she agreed that Boleyn should help care for him. "Some time around November or perhaps the very beginning of December 2008, the arrangement appears to have been for Kayley and Christopher to look after Ryan at Slim Avenue until Christmas," Mr Hotten said.
"In return, Amy was to give Kayley a sum of money each week — one says £20, the other says £40 — and a contribution towards food, gas and electric bills."
It was also agreed that Miss Hancox would visit her son each day, although she subsequently failed to visit him for several days at a time.
Boleyn and Taylor were thought to have increased their cruel treatment of Ryan in the week before his death.
Police believe that they hid Ryan from his mother on the day before he suffered a fatal brain injury because of a severe handprint-shaped bruise on his jaw, which would have made their neglect apparent.
Giving evidence on the second day of the trial, Miss Hancox told jurors that she last saw Ryan at her house in Bilston for around 20 minutes on December 20. He had been clingy and upset, she said, and did not want to let go of her before leaving with the defendants but she knew nothing of the abuse.
A jury took seven hours to convict Boleyn and Taylor, who both face mandatory life sentences. They will be sentenced later this year.