Tyler Whelan murder: Elvis Lee given 17-year tariff

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Media captionTyler Whelan's father Shaun Harrison said he feels lost without his son

A man who kicked and beat his partner's five-year-old son to death has been jailed for life for his murder.

Elvis Lee, 34, attacked Tyler Whelan, who died in hospital in March 2011 after collapsing at their home in Paston, Peterborough.

Supt Simon Megicks, from Cambridgeshire Police, said Tyler's murder had been a "wicked crime".

Lee must serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years, minus time spent in prison on remand.

It means he will spend at least 16 years and 119 days in prison.

Cambridge Crown Court was told Tyler had hurt himself after falling off a breakfast bar on the morning of his death.

Lee admitted kicking and biting Tyler later that day after he had hidden behind a chair.

'Inflicted more blows'

Mr Justice Nicol told Lee: "Tyler had been left in your care while his mother took two other children to school.

Image caption Tyler Whelan had blunt trauma injuries to his head

"His young life was cut tragically short. This has been a tragedy for his father, his mother and the rest of the family.

"Tyler was particularly vulnerable because of his age.

"He was only half your height and a quarter of your weight.

"I entertain the lingering suspicion you inflicted more blows than you have admitted and that may have been the reason Tyler said nothing to his mother when she returned."

Tyler's mother, Stephanie Whelan, 27, who is originally from Wigan, had stood trial with Lee and had denied causing or allowing her son's death.

Jurors were told Whelan knew Lee was capable of violence as she had suffered a series of attacks.

'Lack of curiosity'

She was found guilty by a jury on Monday and is due to be sentenced at a later date.

Image caption Stephanie Whelan had claimed Tyler's death was a tragic accident

Tyler's death followed three earlier admissions to hospital.

Doctors contacted social services when the boy suffered a broken leg in June 2010 but it was later decided no intervention was needed.

His injuries at the time of his death included 18 to his face and neck, 17 to his body, 10 to his arms and hands, and 13 to his legs, including a human bite mark.

A published on Monday stated there were "numerous missed opportunities" to help Tyler, and "concern that no professional ever saw him in the family home".

Although the report's author said there was no evidence to suggest the death could have been prevented, the report condemned a "lack of professional curiosity" among agencies involved in Tyler's case.

Supt Simon Megicks, from Cambridgeshire Police, said: "This was a wicked crime in which an innocent five-year-old was murdered by a person who should have been looking after him.

"Lee is a controlling and violent man who lost his temper and inflicted fatal injuries to Tyler."

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