Man caught on baby monitor attempting to murder toddler in Blackpool jailed for 30 years

Lewis Prince was given a 30 year extended jail sentence and a restraining order blocking any communication with the child was issued indefinitely. Credit: Lancashire Police

A man was caught trying to kill a toddler by the infant's horrified mother - who watched it unfold on her phone.

Lewis Prince, 29, slapped and punched the two-year-old in a "sickening and repeated assault", which was relayed to the toddler's mother as she routinely checked the baby monitor.

The mother also witnessed Prince - also a dad himself - strangling and smothering the young victim, at the home in Blackpool.

Following the incident Prince, from Swinton in Greater Manchester, fled the scene but was later arrested on the M61 motorway.

He denied any wrongdoing, but was charged with attempted murder and assault by beating.

Preston Crown Court heard Prince had been asked to look after the child at home, on 7 December 2022, but became angry when the child would not stop crying.

As the child cried, Prince launched his assault at which point the child's mum happened to log onto an app on her phone which allowed her to see video of their cot, as she would normally do.

During the trial, four harrowing, six-second recordings of the attack which saw Prince punching and slapping the baby were played to court.

In the footage, he grabbed the baby's neck, pinning the child down and repeatedly throwing them down as the tot attempted to get back up. At one stage, he even stood on the child.In the struggle the dad-of-two, left the room to get an ice pack for the baby and returned with a bag of frozen peas which he pushed onto their face, causing more distress.

Sentencing, Judge Robert Altham noted said it was "clearly not done out of concern but to cover up what he had done".

The jury heard medical evidence from the prosecution which indicated that the toddler’s injuries were consistent with strangulation, and that the victim was in the penultimate stage of asphyxia.

Prince was sentenced at Preston Crown Court. Credit: Lancs Live

When the mum got home, she ran up the stairs and pushed Prince out of the way to get to her child.But, in a desperate bid to cover his wrongdoing, Prince pinned her down, grabbed her arm and tried to stop her calling the police.Prince denied hurting the child and demanded the mother showed him bruises. "I don't need to", she said. "You already know what you've done."The woman was eventually able to run to neighbours to call 999 and resisted his pleas to come with her.

The baby was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and has since gone on to make a full recovery.

Prosecuting, Alex Langhorn said a paramedic who attended reported seeing bruises "as you would get at a boxing match, that's the only time I've seen any bruising like that".

During the trial Prince accepted that he had lied in his police interview and he had in fact slapped the toddler to the face and squeezed his cheeks in an attempt to stop him from crying.

The 29-year-old denied attempted murder, stating that he at no point strangled nor smothered the victim.

The jury took around an hour to find Prince unanimously guilty. He had already pleaded guilty to an assault by beating charge, which related to an assault on a woman.

Andrew Scott, defending, said there was little mitigation other than the fact it was not a pre-mediated attack. He said Prince had argued with his partner the previous evening and was dealing with the aftermath of that as well as longer-running problems.He said: "He reflects on the problems he had, the breakdown of the relationship, the pressures he'd put himself under, that he was drinking heavily and heading towards dire financial straits. He was a young man who had brought himself to the brink of breakdown."Something had to give. Unfortunately for him, unfortunately for [the baby], unfortunately for [the mum], it culminated in this."

Sentencing Prince, Judge Robert Altham said: "For someone to be able to do this to a small child without any real motivation, it's necessary for there to be a check on him before he is released to the public".Prince was handed a 30 year extended sentence which is made of a 26 year custodial element and a four year extended licence. He will only be eligible for parole after 20 years.

DS Isobel Garratt, of Lancashire Police said: "Prince’s sickening attack could quite easily have resulted in the victim losing his life.

Fortunately, he has since made a full recovery but anyone who watched the harrowing footage of the assault will know that the outcome could quite easily have been different."

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