Names have been taken out as a request from the biological father

December 2010

Face of the ‘happy slap’ killer: Sadist who murdered girlfriend’s toddler jailed for 26 years

An ‘evil’ sadist who filmed himself assaulting a 15-month-old baby boy and then labelled the clip ‘Happy Slap’ has been jailed for his murder.

Darren Newton, 32, pretended to be a loving father figure to his girlfriends son but when his mother was out he subjected the boy to a series of horrendous assaults.

And in a display of cold-blooded sadism he videoed his brutal attacks on his mobile phone and then labelled the catalogue of digital footage

Titles included: ‘Two minutes of pain’, ‘squeezing toe in cot 1 and 2’ , ‘Shivering no water’ and ‘Happy slap’.

The video clips were found on the mobile phone after the baby boy died in hospital from serious head injuries.

The babys mother, wept as her former boyfriend was convicted of murder. He had earlier pleaded guilty to 12 counts of child cruelty.

Sentencing him to a minimum of 24 years behind bars, Judge Stephen Irwin his actions showed pure ’wickedness.’

He said: ‘Anyone who watches the video clips of some of what you did – and I am convinced you recorded only some of what you did – will genuinely struggle to understand why you came to do this.

‘The baby boy was in your care and you abused that trust. He was too young to tell his mother what you were doing so she could prevent it.’

The court heard the baby boy was born in August 2008 to parents who split shortly after his birth.

The mother later began a relationship with her next door neighbour Darren Newton, who lived with his parents.

She believed Newton was ‘quiet, loving and caring’ and could be trusted to look after her young son.

Dennis Watson QC, prosecuting, said: ‘The sad truth was that whatever the outward appearances they hid a dark and wicked side to the defendant which only surfaced when he was alone with the baby. That side to him was only discovered after the baby boy had died.

‘Between June last year and November last year Darren Newton carried out repeated assaults and other acts of cruelty on a young boy who was barely a year old.

‘Not only did he do that but he filmed himself doing it on his mobile phone.‘

He said Newton recorded footage of the baby as he sat shivering in a bath after the water had been let out and later that same day filmed himself hitting the baby on the head repeatedly, giving the clip the title ‘Happy Slap.’

He said: ‘At 2.30 that afternoon the defendant was left in sole charge of the baby and by 5.45pm Charlie was dead.’

Newton later told police the baby had suffered a fit when he went to upstairs to get him ready for bed.

But a post mortem revealed extensive bleeds in both eyes, damage to the optic nerves, a swollen brain and deep bruising on top of the head.

Manchester Crown Court heard Newton, a factory worker from Earby in Lancashire, was arrested and his mobile phone was seized by officers who later discovered the catalogue of video clips.

It later emerged the mother was known to social services because she has two older children in care though the baby boy was not on an ‘at risk’ register.

A Serious Case Review was carried out and the findings are due to be published by Ofsted at a later date.

Outside court the mother said: ‘He is evil and twisted, for what he did to my baby.

‘The boy was an angel. He was always very happy, he loved to play and he was a good eater and a good sleeper. Any mother would have loved to have been mother of that little boy.

‘If I’d had any suspicions about what had been going on then I would probably be in the dock for murder myself – I’d have killed Darren.

‘I didn’t have any suspicions about what Darren was doing, I was in complete shock when I found out.

‘I was hysterical when I had to watch the videos – I was disgusted. It was extremely difficult to watch them – to see someone you love that much get hurt by someone that you trusted.

She said: ‘I entrusted him with the care of the one main in thing in my life and for him to do that is a betrayal of my son, myself and everything I know. I will have to live with the error of my judgement until the day I day.’