Grieving mum of Harvey Borrington, 3, shares torment as stepmum killer of 'beautiful boy' jailed

The youngster, who had non-verbal autism, sustained fatal head injuries Credit: BPM Media

The mother of an autistic three-year-old boy who was killed by his step-mum has paid tribute to her "beautiful" son.

Harvey Borrington died two days after paramedics found him unresponsive at his stepmother Leila Borrington's home in Jacksdale, Nottinghamshire, in August 2021.

The youngster, who had non-verbal autism, sustained fatal head injuries, including a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Jurors heard Harvey, who spent most weekends with Borrington, was found "unconscious" and "unresponsive" with "abnormal body posture" by paramedics on 7 August 2021.

The court also heard how Borrington killed Harvey by slapping him “multiple times” around the head, having attacked him on two other occasions in the previous four months - which left him with a broken arm and marks on his face.

Jonas Hankin KC, prosecuting, said Borrington was caring for Harvey alone while the boy's father was at work when the fatal injury was likely inflicted.

Harvey was taken to King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield before being transferred to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where he died on 9 August. 

Borrington, 23, was acquitted of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter after a trial. 

Leila Borrington was sentenced over Harvey's death on Thursday 16 March Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

She was also found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on the youngster - in the form of an arm fracture - and causing bodily harm when she squeezed his cheeks.

On Thursday, Borrington, of Main Road, Jacksdale, was jailed for 15 years.

Harvey's birth mum's tribute to her 'beautiful boy'

Addressing the court while the killer sat silently in the dock, Harvey's biological mum, Katie Holroyd, spoke of her favourite memories of him.

Fighting back tears, Ms Holroyd said: "He was everything to me.

"A treasured grandson to my parents, Sandra and Alan Holroyd, who called Harvey their 'little man'.

"I wanted to write a treasured memory we have with Harvey, but they are all treasured.

"Even the little things that most people would take for granted, like when he would want me to pick him up and dance around the kitchen."

Out of all her memories, she said a trip to Matlock was her favourite after they had a long walk up the cliffs, where she had to carry Harvey most of the way.

Ms Holroyd added: "We sat and had a picnic and watched the boats, he loved them and didn't want to leave. 

"He just stood smiling while looking at them. We finally got him to carry on walking."

She recalled how Harvey had chocolate ice cream and they ended the day playing in the park for an hour.

Ms Holroyd continued: "Since 9 August 2021, not a day has gone by where we haven't woken up broken by the thought that we will never hold him again, hear his laugh or watch him grow up.

"Harvey's life was cruelly ended when he was only three years old, killed by the very person who was trusted to care for him and protect him.

"To this day I cannot bear to think of him lying on that floor dying with her filming him and delaying getting medical help for him.

"To have it confirmed that Harvey, before his death, had been assaulted by Leila Borrington will be a lifelong torment for now.

"A recurring nightmare which I will never be able to wake from.

"My beautiful boy couldn't talk, he couldn't articulate the suffering he had to endure. He couldn't tell me he didn't want to go.

"Leila knew this when she abused him and then killed him in a violent attack.

"Since that dreadful day in August 2021, we have sat and listened to others talk about his 'difficulties', his 'conditions' and his 'diagnosis'. Those differences, however, were what made Harvey so very special.

"He was the most loving boy anyone could have wished for, and we will always treasure the short time we got to spend with him.

"What has been so difficult is the fact that Leila Borrington lied about what she did to Harvey.

"She chose to lie, no doubt to try and save herself. However, this selfish and cruel act meant as a family we had to endure weeks of listening to medical evidence about the horrific injuries Harvey sustained.

"She knew what she had done to him, and she could have said so from the start. Instead, she made the decision to lie which increased our pain and heartache further."

Harvey Borrington Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

Ms Holroyd also said the evidence given by the doctors was "really, really hard to listen to and, at times, me and my mum had to leave the court".

She said she found the evidence from two pathologists "particularly harrowing".

Ms Holroyd said: "Knowing parts of my baby were removed and sent around the country to establish what happened - all because she chose to lie.

"I will never be able to explain and no one will ever be about to understand what this means to me as Harvey's mum."

She spoke of the effect on her parents and how her father, Alan, has withdrawn from life, adding: "His purpose as protector of the family has been lost. I don't recognise him anymore, our loss is beyond words."

She also said there was no sentence that could be given to Borrington that will fix the harm done. 

Ms Holroyd said: "The pain, the suffering, the loss that we have to deal with as a family will continue for the rest of our lives."