February 2019

Man guilty of killing 22-month-old stepdaughter 

A man found guilty of murdering his one-year-old stepdaughter in a “savage” attack has been jailed for life – Minimum of 19 years

Martin Johnson, 20, killed Erin Tomkins at her Sheffield home – causing multiple injuries to the head and face.

A post-mortem examination found that Erin, who was a few weeks short of her second birthday, had also suffered broken limbs and four fractures to her spine in the weeks leading up to her death.

Johnson, a former chef, told police he had been playing with Erin Tomkins at her home when she suddenly collapsed in front of him.

Appearing at Sheffield Crown Court, Johnson was found guilty of murder after less than two hours of deliberations, along with two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He will have to serve a minimum of 19 years behind bars.

The jury heard how Erin was taken to hospital on Monday May 21 2018 after Johnson phoned 999 from Miss Tomkins’s home in Leighton Road, in the Gleadless area of Sheffield.

Staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital found bruises on her face and body, bruising and bleeding to the surface of her brain, which was also swollen, and bleeding to both eyes.

Other injuries included “10 areas of injury to the head and face”.

A post mortem examination revealed that in addition to severe head injures, there was evidence of a fractured right arm and spinal fractures which were weeks old.

Johnson was found guilty after less than two hours of deliberations

In a victim impact statement, Erin’s mother Kira Tomkins said: “Erin should not have been in a position where she was scared to be in her own home.

“She should have had the opportunity to grow up and live her life but she never even got to start nursery.

“When I close my eyes I see Erin and that just a reminds me of her innocence.”