August 2023

Man jailed for trying to strangle toddler


A man who tried to murder a toddler was caught in the act by the child’s mother on her baby monitor.

Lewis Prince, 29, denied intending to commit murder, instead admitting to assaulting the child.

However it took less than two hours for a jury to see through his lies, and convict the factory worker of attempted murder for punching, strangling and smothering the two-year-old

The sickening incident was caught on camera, when the child’s mother checked a baby monitor app on her phone, as she routinely would when leaving the home.

That morning, he had been asked to watch the child at its Blackpool home and as the child cried, Prince launched his assault at which point the child’s mum happened to log onto an app.

She ran back home as the child screamed helplessly.

During the trial, four, six-second recordings of the attack which saw Prince punching and slapping the toddler were played to court.

In the footage, he is seen grabbing the child’s neck, pinning them down and repeatedly throwing them down as he attempted to get back up.

At one stage, he stood on the child to pin them to the ground. In the struggle, Prince, himself a dad-of-two, left the room to get an ice pack for the child and returned with a bag of frozen peas which he pushed onto their face, causing more distress.

Sentencing, Judge Robert Altham noted this was “clearly not done out of concern but to cover up what he had done”.

When the mum got home, she ran up the stairs and pushed Prince out of the way to get to her child.

But, in a bid to cover his wrongdoing, Prince pinned her down, grabbed her arm and tried to stop her calling the police. Prince denied hurting the child demanding the mother showed him bruises.

The woman was eventually able to run to neighbours to call 999 and resisted his pleas to come with her.

He instead drove away alone but was arrested before he could make it home. Meanwhile, the baby was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Prosecuting, Alex Langhorn said a paramedic who attended reported seeing bruises “as you would get at a boxing match, that’s the only time I’ve seen any bruising like that”.

The child has since gone on to make a full recovery.

Judge Altham disagreed with the author of a pre-sentencing report and said Prince should be classified as a dangerous offender.

He said a whole life sentence was not merited but said Prince should only be released upon a parole board decision after at least two thirds of his sentence.

He said: “For someone to be able to do this to a small child without any real motivation, it’s necessary for there to be a check on him before he is released to the public”.

The judge handed down a 30 year extended sentence which is made of a 26 year custodial element and a four year extended licence. He will only be eligible for parole after 20 years.

A restraining order blocking any communication with the child was issued indefinitely but no restraining order was issued in relation to the mother.