Evil monster tried to kill toddler before mum found horror footage on phone app

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Lewis Prince was described in court as
Lewis Prince was described in court as 'highly dangerous' (Image: LancsPolice)

An evil monster tried to kill a two-year-old boy before the toddler's mum checked a camera app on her phone and discovered horrific footage of the attack.

Lewis Prince, 29, subjected the little boy to a "sickening and repeated assault" at a home in Blackpool on December 7, 2022. The court heard he punched, strangled and smothered the baby but tried to deny intending to commit murder, instead admitting only assault. But a jury at Preston Crown Court took about an hour to find Prince guilty of attempted murder.

The harrowing incident was uncovered when the infant's mother checked a camera app on her phone as she routinely would when leaving the home and witnesses the horrifying attack. Prince from Swinton, fled the scene but was arrested on the M61 motorway.

The morning of the attack, he had been asked to look after the child but as the toddler cried, Prince launched his assault. At that point, the child's mum happened to log onto an app on her phone which allowed her to see video of their cot, as she would normally do. As soon as she saw the horrific scene, she ran back home as the toddler screamed helplessly, Lancs Live reports.

During the trial, four harrowing, six-second recordings of the attack which saw Prince punching and slapping the baby were played to court. In the footage, he was seen grabbing the baby's neck, pinning him down and repeatedly throwing him down. 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 baby and returned with a bag of frozen peas which he pushed onto the child's face, causing more distress.

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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 desperate 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. "I don't need to", she said. "You already know what you've done."

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". No medical treatment was required for the child, who has since gone on to make a full recovery.

Defending, Andrew Scott said there was little mitigation other than the fact it was not a pre-mediated attack. He said Prince had argued with his partner the previous evening and was dealing with the aftermath of that as well as longer-running problems.

He said: "He reflects on the problems he had, the breakdown of the relationship, the pressures he'd put himself under, that he was drinking heavily and heading towards dire financial straits. He was a young man who had brought himself to the brink of breakdown. Something had to give. Unfortunately for him, unfortunately for [the baby], unfortunately for [the mum], it culminated in this."

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.

Jamie Lopez

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