Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

Babysitting couple guilty of child's murder in Bilston


Ryan Lovell-Hancox was abused and neglected during his stay in the bedsit

A babysitting couple who left a three-year-old boy with more than 70 injuries have been found guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court of his murder.

Ryan Lovell-Hancox died in hospital on 24 December 2008 after suffering a brain injury at the home of Christopher Taylor and Kayley Boleyn.

Taylor, 25, and Boleyn, 19, of Bilston, West Midlands, both denied the murder.

Ryan's mother, Amy Hancox, 21, said she had given Ryan to the pair to look after as she "was not coping".

Ryan Lovell-Hancox
The court was told Ryan Lovell-Hancox had more than 70 injuries

Taylor and Boleyn were also convicted of child cruelty. A neighbour who called the ambulance for Ryan said it looked as if a football team had had a go at him.

Wolverhampton City Council said Ryan's death would be the subject of a serious case review.

A four-week trial heard Ryan's mother was paying about £20-a-week for Taylor and Boleyn to look after Ryan while she decorated her home in the month before the boy's death.

When questioned, the pair told police Ryan had slipped in the bath at their Slim Avenue flat.

Detectives believe the killers hid Ryan from his mother on the day before he suffered the fatal injury because severe bruising - in the shape of a hand-print - would have made their abuse obvious.

Swollen head

But officers say the pair committed the offences together and may even have encouraged each other to strike Ryan.

Neighbour Alan Mitchell called the ambulance for Ryan.

Kayley Boleyn and Christopher Taylor
Kayley Boleyn and Christopher Taylor had both denied the murder

He said: "His head was swollen and he had grazes on his nose. It looked like a football team had had a go at him."

Among the abuse, Ryan was shouted at until he wet himself, and forced to lick spilled soup.

Ryan's mother Miss Hancox said: "Not only were Taylor and Boleyn on trial but I myself was made to feel I was on trial.

"My crime was naivety. Kayley is related to my family.

"She spent time at my mother's and father's houses. We were very close. She never showed any signs of nastiness.

"All I want is to see these two locked up for a lifetime and most of all I want and need a chance to rebuild my life and put my son to rest after this long period of time."

Ryan's mother describes him as a "really loving" little boy - West Midlands Police video

Ms Hancox last saw Ryan at her house in Bilston for around 20 minutes on 20 December.

The child had been clingy and upset, his mother said, and did not want to let go of her before leaving with the defendants.

He died at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Det Insp Graeme Squire led the investigation.

He said: "The two people who know exactly what happened to Ryan are Christopher Taylor and Kayley Boleyn.

"I think it was just an incredibly bad combination of people. The word cruel sums them both up."

West Midlands Police said no action will be taken against Miss Hancox for leaving Ryan in Taylor and Boleyn's care.

Roy Lockwood, director for children and young people's services for Wolverhampton City Council, said Ryan had not been subject to a child protection plan or had been identified as 'at risk'.

"Nonetheless, all the agencies in the city that have a responsibility to protect children are determined to learn what lessons there are to be learned to ensure no child ever dies in such circumstances in our city again."

The pair will be sentenced later this year.

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