Lincolnshire

Stewart Greene jailed for murdering grandson by drowning

Alex Robinson Image copyright Family picture
Image caption Nine-year-old Alex Robinson died two days before Christmas at his home in Lincoln

A man who drowned his nine-year-old grandson in the bath has been jailed for life for the boy's murder.

Stewart Greene, 65, killed Alex Robinson in what a psychiatrist described as "one of the most callous killings" he had ever seen.

Greene had denied murder on the grounds of being mentally ill, but changed his plea to guilty during his trial.

The judge, Mrs Justice Thirlwall, told him he will serve a minimum of 22 years in prison.

Sentencing him at Lincoln Crown Court, she said: "The callousness cannot be overstated."

Image copyright Lincolnshire Police
Image caption Stewart Greene went on trial for murder, then changed his plea to guilty

Greene, who had never disputed killing Alex, changed his plea following evidence from psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph.

Dr Joseph, who has dealt with more than 800 homicide cases, told the jury: "In over 30 years, this is one of the most callous killings or murders I have been involved with."

Psychopathic personality disorder

He diagnosed Greene as having a psychopathic personality disorder, characterised by a "callous unconcern for the feelings of others" and an "incapacity to experience guilt".

But despite his mental condition, Dr Joseph said Greene understood what he was doing and his ability to form a rational judgement was not impaired.

"Although his judgement was abhorrent, immoral and illegal, it was rational," he told the court.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionNine-year-old Alex Robinson's father, John, expressed his relief as he left Lincoln Crown Court
Image caption Alex's mother Joanne Greene (left) was comforted by her mother as she left Lincoln Crown Court

The trial heard Alex had stayed at home in Lincoln to play on his Xbox while his mother, grandmother and four-year-old sister went out to buy a turkey two days before Christmas 2014.

While they were out Greene double-locked the doors, ran a bath, walked his grandson into the bathroom and drowned him.

Michael Evans QC, prosecuting, said the bath was the last place Alex would have willingly gone because he was very wary of water, and even hated water on his face.

"The defendant forcibly drowned Alex in the bath," Mr Evans said.

"His intention was clear and he did so in the most brutal way."

Image caption Alex Robinson stayed at home to play on his Xbox while his mother Joanne Greene went shopping

Alex's mother, Joanne Greene, told police how she returned to her home in Pennell Street to find her son dead.

In a video played to the court, Ms Greene said her father was calmly sitting on the sofa and told her: "I've drowned Alex in the bath."

Ms Greene told the interviewing officer she did not believe him at first, but then desperately began looking for her son.

She rushed to the bathroom, where she saw Alex in the water, surrounded by his sister's toys.

Mr Evans told the court: "She dragged Alex out of the bath and remembers his lips were blue and he was lifeless."

The court heard Greene had been angry with his daughter, who refused to let him live with her following his discharge from a mental health unit just 12 days before.

He had a history of mental health problems stretching back to his twenties, with various diagnoses including depression, bipolar affective disorder and personality disorder.

Giving evidence, Ms Greene said she had pleaded with staff at the mental health unit not to let her father out, and warned them: "He will do something to get himself put in somewhere."

Alex's family thanked well-wishers for their support.

"We were privileged to have had Alex, if only for a short time," the family said in a statement.

"Nothing will ever make up for the loss of Alex and this has left a huge hole in our lives.

"Alex's sister has been left without her brother whom she idolised and we will continue to keep his memory alive in everything that we do. Shine bright little boy."

Det Insp Helen Evans said the case would stay with her for a very long time.

"I didn't know Alex but through this investigation I feel I have come to know him and what a lovely little boy he was," she said.

"What is stark in this case is the heartbreak and devastation that has been caused to one family.

"The sadness of losing Alex cannot be put into words and for that to have happened at the hands of his grandfather is more than one family should have to bear."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites