Update: Now living in the Lochside area of Dumfries

June 2003

Baby killer has sentence increased

A father who killed his two baby sons has had his prison sentence increased from seven to 10 years.

Ian Metcalfe, 35, was jailed last year after being found guilty of culpable homicide by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.

However, the Crown lodged an appeal against the sentence on the grounds that it was “unduly lenient”.

On Thursday, three appeal court judges quashed the jail term and replaced it with a sentence of 10 years.

Metcalfe, from Locharbriggs, Dumfries, was originally charged with the murder of Kyle Metcalfe, who was 11 weeks old when he died, and Dylan Lockerbie, who was aged five months.

He was convicted of the lesser charge of culpable homicide after a trial.

He was also convicted of endangering the life of a third child who cannot be named.

The babies who died, who had different mothers, suffered broken bones in previous attacks by their father.

The court heard that Metcalfe suffocated the two boys by putting his hand over their mouths.

Kyle’s death in 1988 was initially blamed on cot death.

However, police began an investigation when Dylan, who was born to a different mother, died in 1996.

Metcalfe was also convicted of suffocating and endangering the life of a third child, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

On Thursday, Advocate Depute Calum MacNeill told the appeal judges that Metcalfe was “in the ultimate position of trust”.

“His duty was to nurture and protect these defenceless infants,” he said.

“He committed assaults resulting not in the death of one child but in the death of two children.

“Seven years was not just a lenient sentence but an unduly lenient one.”

Mr MacNeill said Metcalfe had been found guilty of repeated minor assaults on children over the course of eight years.

The youngsters sustained bruising, broken ribs and internal bleeding.

Mr MacNeill argued that Metcalfe was a danger to young children.

He said that the civil engineer, who still denies the assaults, had not pleaded guilty or shown any remorse.

Donald Findlay QC, representing Metcalfe, said the jury had ruled that his client did not deliberately kill his children, but had lost control of himself.

He said he was no longer a risk to babies because he would never be allowed to keep any children in the future.

Mr Findlay also claimed that the Metcalfes had asked for help from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s social work department when they struggled to cope with Dylan Lockerbie, but received none.

The local authority admitted failings in their dealings with the family and said they were wrong not to place the infant on the “at risk” register months before he died.

It described Metcalfe as a repeat offender who covered his tracks well and was only brought to justice thanks to advances in forensic science.

The appeal judges – Lord Justice General Lord Cullen, sitting with Lord Kirkwood and Lord McCluskey – will give the reasons for their decision later in writing.

September 2002

Man who suffocated two baby sons is jailed for seven years

A man who killed his two baby sons in separate attacks eight years apart was jailed for seven years yesterday.

Ian Metcalfe, 34, suffocated two-month-old Kyle in 1988, and five-month-old Dylan in 1996. He was also convicted of endangering the life of a third child who cannot be named.

The babies who died, who had different mothers, suffered broken bones in previous attacks by their father.

Lord Carloway, at the High Court in Edinburgh, told Metcalfe: “You have been convicted by a jury of killing two young children by asphyxiation and of earlier assaults to the danger of their lives.”

Metcalfe, of Locharbriggs, Dumfries, was originally charged with murder, but found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide in both cases.

The public bodies involved in the case, including the police, health officials and the local authority, issued a joint statement welcoming the sentence.

It said: “This man was a repeat offender who covered his tracks well and has been brought to justice thanks to the increasing sophistication of forensic science and to the persistence of the many agencies involved in this case.”

Social workers were said in court to have done nothing to protect Dylan, despite their fears that Metcalfe was “psychologically disturbed”.

The deaths were originally diagnosed as cot deaths, but when the case was re-opened, advances in forensic science led to Metcalfe being charged nearly five years after killing his second son.

The breakthrough was made when paediatric radiologists noticed fractures in X-rays of both children. Dylan and Kyle were found to have broken ribs caused weeks before they died.

A psychiatrist suggested that the most likely explanation for the offences was that Metcalfe became stressed while he was left alone with small children and lost his self control.

As he was led from court, Metcalfe looked at his girlfriend Maureen Lockerbie, 24, the mother of Dylan, and mouthed the words, “I love you.” She said later that she would stand by him and that he was a “loving father”.

“I believe in his innocence,” she said. “He is an innocent man. He should not be in prison. He is a loving person who would do anything for anybody. Now we will be concentrating all our efforts on an appeal to hopefully get him released.”

Donald Findlay QC, defending, said his client did not intentionally harm the children, adding: “Here is a man who, on the one hand appears to be caring and loving and tender towards his children, but on the other hand has been convicted by a jury of depriving two of them of their lives.”

The court heard that Metcalfe, a driver, smoked a cigarette and drank a can of beer in January 27, 1988, while ambulance staff attempted to revive Kyle, the son he had with Michelle Johnstone, 32, his former wife.

Miss Lockerbie said in her evidence that her son Dylan smiled at her when she left for work on March 12, 1996. Fifteen minutes later, Metcalfe telephoned her to say he thought the baby was dead.


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