A man has been found guilty of attempting to murder a toddler in Blackpool following a trial at Preston Crown Court.
Lewis Prince, 29, was caught when the tot’s horrified mother saw him assault her child on a baby monitor. Prince, of Browning Road, Swinton, admitted he had assaulted the two-year-old but denied attempted murder.
However after hearing expert evidence about his injuries from Home Office Pathologist, Dr Alison Armour, the jury took less than two hours to reach a unanimous verdict that Prince attempted to kill the toddler.
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The toddler, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where medics noted bruises to their face and ears consistent with strangulation. Harrowing video monitor clips were played in which the child’s muffled cries could be heard.
In the witness box, Prince, a dad-of-two himself, said he had squeezed the toddler’s cheeks together but noticed the tot had a burst lip and went to get an ice pack. He said at no point did he smother or strangle the little child.
He said at the time of the attack, in December 2022, he was under extreme pressure due to the financial cost of fuel to get to work and a French Bulldog he had bought for £1200. He was also experiencing family issues, he said.
In the weeks before the attack he had ‘bottled things up’ and had been drinking more than usual. “Pressure bursts pipes”, he told the jury.
When the toddler started crying he said he was “angry and frustrated”. The child’s mum logged onto an app which allowed her to view him in his bed. It was here that she witnessed Prince assaulting the child.
She ran home to find the toddler “floppy”, and rushed to a neighbour’s house to call the police and paramedics. Dr Armour said the young child was in the later stages of asphyxiation and had stopped struggling and kicking out.
Prince left the house and drove to Salford but was arrested on the M61. He said: “At that point I already knew everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve got in my life was going to get took away. When that door slammed there was a realisation.”
However Alex Langhorn, prosecuting, said Prince never asked about the child he had assaulted.
In interview, Prince denied the attack but later pleaded guilty to GBH with intent. He said he had intended to soothe the crying tot but then assaulted him. However the jury found he went further than assault and attempted to murder the child.
As the foreman delivered the verdict, Prince shook his head. He will be sentenced on August 4 at Preston Crown Court.
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