A father from Paignton has been jailed for more than six years for killing his five week old son. Matthew Wickens shook Riley Gardener and threw him into his cot after he couldn't get him to sleep.
A judge at Exeter Crown Court said Wickens will have to live with the burden of what he has done for the rest of his life.
Police have issued the following statement in response to the sentence:
– Detective Constable Jo Thomson, Devon & Cornwall Police
This was a thorough and complex investigation by the Major Crime Investigation Team of Devon and Cornwall Police into the tragic death of Riley Gardener.
Due to the volume of evidence against Matthew Wickens he has pleaded guilty to manslaughter. This was acceptable to the Crown Prosecution Service and the police. The court has today imposed a jail sentence of six years and five months, but our thoughts now remain with the family and relatives.
The police would like to express their gratitude to Riley’s mother and grandparents for their co-operation throughout the enquiry. Despite the very difficult circumstances they have had to come to terms with they have maintained their dignity throughout which is a credit to them.
Riley's family have been talking about their loss, which has been difficult to come to terms with in the shadow of the court case.
– Riley Gardener's family
The past 18 months has been very traumatic for all of our family. It is difficult to describe the pain and devastation that we feel at the loss of our beautiful little boy.
Riley is always in our hearts and a moment does not go by without us thinking about him.
The whole family would like to express their appreciation for the support and sensitivity shown by the police during this very difficult time.
Riley's mother Gemma has written a poem as a tribute to Riley.
– Gemma Gardener, Riley's mum
We all sit here with broken hearts
I cry at the fact we had to part
You, Riley, my baby son
Whose tiny life had just begun
Opening of your eyes was very sweet
With your gripping hands and tiny feet
Your fingers held mine so very tight, which
Made Jayden your brother scream with delight
He loved to push you on your swing
In fact with you he loved everything
He liked to kiss and hold you tight
So, with love from Jayden
We miss you so much my beautiful boy
You made my heart so full with joy
I know our time was short together
But my love for you will stay forever
The time has come to say goodbye
My precious Angel in the sky
You're now in a place so beautiful and new
But remember my baby I will always love you.
Riley's family say he will be loved forever and now, at last, he will be able to rest in peace.