September 2001

Father who smothered babies jailed for life

Darren Jenkinson

A FATHER who killed his two baby sons was condemned by a judge for his “monstrous acts” as he was given life sentences for their murders.

Lord McEwan recommended that Darren Jenkinson, 29, should serve at least 15 years in prison for the murders of Aaron, two, and Jacob, aged three weeks, before he is considered for parole.

As well as the two life sentences for murder, Jenkinson was also sentenced to 12 years for trying to murder them on five separate occasions at their home in Glasgow.

Lord McEwan said: “On three occasions, you attempted to murder Aaron and you did murder him on the fourth occasion.

“You attempted to murder Jacob twice and then on the third occasion you murdered him. To take one life is terrible indeed but, when it is your own baby, it is monstrous.

“How you could take the life of your second child is beyond any words that I can find to describe it. These crimes were aggravated by the attempts by you to kill them on five occasions.

“These innocent, helpless victims deserved to have been allowed to live their lives, which had hardly begun.”

Earlier women members of the jury at Glasgow High Court were led away sobbing after they heard a police tape recording by Jenkinson, of Oatlands, Glasgow.

In it, he described killing Jacob in 1995 and Aaron in 1999 by placing a bib over their mouths and noses while holding their legs to stop them wriggling.

At the time, Jacob’s death was put down to natural causes and his body was cremated. But when Aaron, who was born after Jenkinson and his wife had fertility treatment, died four years later, medical services became suspicious.

His wife, Frances, 24, told the court that she thought her sons had breathing and heart problems and had stood by her husband believing that he had made up his confession after hours of police interrogation.

After the police tapes were played she visited him in custody to ask if it was true. Gary McAtear, Jenkinson’s solicitor, said his client was considering an appeal and that his wife, who was not in court for sentencing, was seeking a separation.

During the five-week trial, Jenkinson’s lawyers claimed that he suffered from diminished responsibility and said the jury should consider the lesser charges of culpable homicide and assault.

Jenkinson, who worked in fast food outlets and as a forklift driver, was physically and sexually abused by his father and feared that he would, in turn, abuse his own sons.

He claimed that the voice of his dead father had driven him to kill his sons, with his defence arguing he was suffering from a mental disorder caused by his childhood abuse. The prosecution argued that his story was the “classic response of the devious and deceitful”.

Jenkinson smothered the babies while his wife was in bed or in another room. Jacob was taken to Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow, after Jenkinson, who took the baby from the bedroom to the front room for a feed in the middle of the night, shouted to his wife that he had stopped breathing.

Pauline – Jenkinson’s sister-in-law – said that, while the family was grieving in a hospital room as Jacob’s ventilator was being switched off, Jenkinson said: “I suppose now my DSS money will go down.”

Outside the court, Pauline said: “He’s a beast. There should be a life for a life for that kind of thing. He’s an arrogant and terrible evil man who took the lives of innocent children.

“I knew all along he was guilty but, when I told my sister so, it caused a family split and I still don’t talk to her or our mother. I’m hoping now for a reconciliation.”