Man jailed for almost 29 years for killing his mother to fund 'fantasy lifestyle'

Robert Child, a sports psychologist murdered his mother to keep his fantasy lifestyle. Credit: ITV Granada

A sports psychologist has been jailed for murdering his mother in a savage hammer attack to prevent the collapse of his "fantasy lifestyle".

"Prolific liar" Robert Child, 37, attacked his 64-year-old mother Janice in a utility room at her home in Woolton, in Liverpool, on March 5.

Shortly after leaving the house he used her mobile phone to transfer £25,000 from her bank account into his and the following morning bought a Jaguar car for nearly £15,000.

Last week Child admitted her murder but a trial of issue was held at Liverpool Crown Court as he denied the killing was financially motivated.

He was sentenced today at Liverpool Crown Court to 28 years and 364 days in prison.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Rhodes said: "Robert Child brutally murdered his mother in an appalling violent attack.

"Ever since committing the offence, he has gone to great lengths to try to lie and cheat his way out of the consequences of his actions, in the same way as he has lied his way through life."

Woolton murder scene Credit: ITV Granada

Giving evidence he claimed he visited the semi-detached house in Kings Drive to say one final goodbye to his mother as he planned to drive to Italy in the Jaguar and end his own life.

He said he lost his temper after she revealed to him she had been using multiple Twitter accounts to troll online his estranged wife - even though there was no evidence Mrs Child had a Twitter account.

After he struck her 31 times with the murder weapon he told the court he "spontaneously" made the money transfer as his mother had already agreed to fund the car purchase.

Judge Dennis Watson QC rejected his account and said the defendant did "whatever was necessary to gain access to the money he needed".

He said Child was in "serious" financial difficulties with credit card and loan defaults amounting to £30,000, as well as county court judgments totalling £16,000 against him, but was living "far far beyond his means".

Despite telling family and friends that he was working for Manchester United, in reality he was unemployed and only had an unpaid research post at Liverpool University.

In the months before the killing he made trips to London, Barcelona and Disneyland Paris but on March 5 he had just £1.01 in his bank account.

Judge Watson labelled Child a "prolific liar" who lied about achieving a doctorate and a PhD, about working for Manchester United and working in combat zones for the Ministry of Defence.

He also fabricated a bleed to the brain and claimed he had played hockey for Great Britain, the court heard.