A couple have been locked up over the death of a 15-month-old boy who was murdered following a campaign of “cruel and sadistic” abuse. Jacob Lennon suffered a catalogue of injuries to his face, body and genitals over three weeks at the hands of his mother’s cocaine addict boyfriend Jake Drummond.
The campaign of cruelty at the couple's flat in Roehampton, southwest London, culminated with Drummond, 33, fatally shaking and hitting the boy on August 27, 2019.
Jacob's face was left so bruised and swollen he could not open his eyes and "looked like a panda". He died shortly after arriving at hospital.
Mother Louise Lennon, 32, not only failed to stop it, she joked with Drummond, blamed another child for injuries. She lied to social services to avoid anyone finding out after her case was downgraded.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey in March, Drummond was found guilty of murder and wounding Jacob by extreme pinching or biting his penis and piercing his scrotum with a skewer. Lennon was found guilty of allowing Jacob’s death on August 27 2019, having admitted child cruelty. On Friday, Mr Justice Sweeting handed Drummond a life sentence with a minimum term of 32 years for murder and six years to run concurrently for wounding. Lennon was handed 10 years with six years’ imprisonment concurrent for the cruelty charge. Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jolley, of Scotland Yard, said it was the saddest case of his 30-year career, and “distressing and emotional” for all those involved. He said what Jacob suffered was “truly awful and cruel” with the fatal head injury likened to being dropped from a first floor building. There were over 20 individual injuries to his body at the time of his death.
“One of the most significant injuries was the injury to his genitalia, which was cruel and sadistic in its own right,” Mr Jolley said. He added that the defendants were “quite despicable” as they joked about Jacob’s suffering in messages punctuated by laughing emojis. Five days before the killing, former caretaker Drummond told Lennon he was putting Jacob into the “torture chamber” - in reference to his bedroom. It followed a meme of the Hollywood actor Ben Stiller in the film Happy Gilmore with the quote: “Now you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep.”
Social Services had placed Jacob under a child protection plan under the category of emotional abuse in December 2018 and the case had been downgraded to the lowest category a month before his death. On August 20, 2019, Lennon lied to a social worker by saying she was on holiday in Hastings to skip a planned visit. By then, Drummond had already embarked on “a campaign of deliberately assaulting and hurting Jacob”, prosecutor Sally O’Neill KC had said.
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Drummond was said to be frustrated at Jacob staying in bed with him and Lennon rather than his cot. On the day before the fatal attack, he was further angered at having to go to a police station after a former girlfriend accused him of harassing her in a way that was “little short of obsessive”. A post-mortem examination found Jacob died from a fatal head injury, likely from being hit against a blunt surface while being shaken, as well as 20 marks of recent injury. In the televised sentencing, the judge said Drummond was “emotionally volatile” which was made worse by his drug use. He rejected Lennon’s claim that she was coercively controlled by her boyfriend, saying she had prioritised her relationship over her son’s welfare. The judge said photographs taken by Lennon of Jacob’s injuries were “truly shocking” and noted one of her friends had described his head as looking like a “basketball”. He said: “Perhaps the most haunting photograph is not one of those that show injury but that taken on August 12 when Jacob appears well, a bright and cheerful toddler – less than a fortnight later he was dead.”