Baby Alfie's killer to be sentenced

Alfie Sullock, who was killed by his mother's boyfriend Michael Pearce

Alfie Sullock, who was killed by his mother's boyfriend Michael Pearce

First published in National News © by

Baby killer Michael Pearce will learn today how long he will spend behind bars when he is sentenced for causing the death of his girlfriend's six-week-old baby.

Prosecutors at Pearce's trial said Alfie Sullock received serious head injuries after being hit with the sole of a shoe and a plastic bottle.

A jury cleared the 33-year-old motorcycle mechanic of murder but convicted him of the alternative charge of manslaughter.

On August 16 last year, Pearce had been babysitting Alfie for the child's mother Donna Sullock at his terraced home in Nelson, Caerphilly, south Wales.

The couple met when former holiday rep Ms Sullock was six months' pregnant.

Newport Crown Court heard it had been the first time Ms Sullock had been out since giving birth and also the first time divorcee Pearce had looked after Alfie on his own.

Pearce texted Ms Sullock during the course of the evening saying her son was fine - as well as: "You can trust me". But four minutes after saying the child was sleeping, Pearce dialled 999.

When paramedics arrived at his address they found Alfie lifeless and blue.

Prosecutor Michael Mather-Lees had told a jury in his opening address: "Children do not go cold instantly."

Doctors later discovered Alfie had a total of around 13 injuries. He had bruising across his face and abdomen and a "scratch" injury was also found on his penis.

Pearce, who had drunk five pints of beer in little over an hour that evening, said he noticed Alfie had stopped breathing when he returned from the toilet. He also claimed he had "no idea" how his girlfriend's child had become injured.

His defence team queried whether Ms Sullock may have accidentally injured her son while getting ready or paramedics could have caused the head injuries while trying save to the boy's life.

Both Ms Sullock and ambulance crews refuted those suggestions.

Four days after arriving at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff - the same place where he had been born - Alfie's life support was switched off and he was prounounced dead.

A post-mortem examination gave a provisional cause of death as blunt trauma injury and extensive bleeding to the brain.

Following more than 35 hours of deliberations, a jury delivered a 10-2 majority verdict - prompting emotional scenes afterwards.

As she wept on the steps of the court, 29-year-old Ms Sullock said: "We are disappointed at today's verdict but satisfied that he will still go to prison for what he's done.

"Whatever sentence he will get, it will never be long enough for taking Alfie's life away.

"We have been through a year of absolute hell."

Chief Inspector Leanne Brustad of Gwent Police said the force's thoughts were with Ms Sullock - who had attended every day of her former boyfriend's trial.

She said: "During an extremely emotional and upsetting time they have handled themselves with great dignity."

Mr Justice Baker will hear sentencing arguments from the Crown and defence before deciding Pearce's jail term.

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