Stoke-on-Trent man admits murdering partner's young son

Scott Hepburn, sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to the murder of an 18-month old boy The toddler was thrown on to the floor and into a wall, police said

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A man from Stoke-on-Trent has admitted murdering his partner's young son by throwing him against a wall and on to the floor.

Scott Hepburn, 32, from Fenpark Road, Fenton, was jailed for life for killing 18-month-old Ashley Johnson.

The toddler suffered a serious head injury at home at Woodgate Street, Meir, in January and died at hospital.

The judge at Stafford Crown Court recommended Hepburn serve a minimum of 15 and a half years.

Because of time already spent in custody he has at least 14 years and 271 days left to service before he can be considered for parole.

Speaking outside Stafford Crown Court, Det Insp Andy Maxfield said Hepburn had not explained why he did it.

'Very traumatic'

Det Insp Maxfield from Staffordshire Police said the family were "devastated".

"A mother's lost a son and his siblings have lost a brother.

"You do wonder what potential that lad had got, so it's really, really sad."

He added that the guilty plea had saved family members from having to give evidence in court "which could have been a very traumatic thing for them to do".

Asked if Hepburn had explained in police interviews why he killed the boy, he said: "No, I think that stays with Mr Hepburn. It's in his mind. We don't know."

Jackie Carnell from the Stoke on Trent Safeguarding Board said: "We have conducted a serious case review which will be published in due course.

"We realise what a difficult time this has been for the family."

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