June 2016

Child killer sentenced to 17-years


A man has been jailed for a minimum of 17 years after being found guilty of murdering his girlfriend’s baby son by beating him with a garden chair.

Sean Buckley, 28, of Tonypandy claimed 17-month-old Finley John Thomas sustained a fractured skull and broken ribs in a fall down the stairs.

But doctors discovered Finley had suffered a severe bleed to the brain and also found an older injury behind his right ear, Cardiff crown court heard.

Traces of cocaine and cannabis were found in his body.

Buckley, of Tonypandy, south Wales, was also found guilty of child cruelty.

Finley’s mother, Chloe Thomas, 25, admitted child cruelty and will be sentenced at a later date.

The judge Mrs Justice Frances Patterson described Buckley as cruel and wicked and said it was possible he may never be released.

Finley was born in April 2013 and about a year later his mother began a relationship with Buckley, the court heard during the trial. On 23 September 2014 Thomas made a 999 call and told the operator that her son had “banged his head” and was “lying floppy”.

Roger Thomas QC, prosecuting, told jurors: “Sean Buckley was standing close by when the call was made. He was heard to say: ‘He fell from the top to the bottom of the stairs.’ These were wicked and quite deliberate lies.”

Finley was first taken to the Royal Glamorgan hospital before being transferred to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

A 10cm by 10cm swelling was found on the back of the child’s head, as well as bruising on one of his ears. Finley died on 24 September.

The prosecution said a postmortem revealed Finley had several other injuries, including rib fractures and a fractured skull. “These injuries should not have been present on a 17-month-old child,” Thomas told the court.

A report on Finley’s injuries suggested he may have been shaken or thrown, the court heard. Thomas said: “The catastrophic injuries sustained by Finley were a result of a deliberate and vicious act by Sean Buckley. To avoid the consequences of his own violent conduct, he has persisted in the deceitful manufactured account and has been assisted by the lies and support of Chloe Thomas.”