A man who admitted murdering 11-month-old baby Hunter Patrick McGleenon has been told he will serve a minimum 13 years in jail.
Prosecutors have said they are considering appealing the sentence handed down.
Shayar Ali, 34, of Westenra Terrace in Monaghan had been in a relationship with the child's mother and claimed that the infant had fallen off a low sofa and struck his head in a concrete floor.
Despite stating that he had attempted CPR and given Hunter a cold shower to “revive him", no calls were made to emergency services.
Earlier this year he was handed a life sentence, with the minimum term handed down on Thursday.
Hunter's grieving family sat in dignified silence at Newry Crown Court for the hearing.
With the toddler’s mum Nicole and other relatives sitting just a few feet away in the public gallery, Ali sat in the dock showing little emotion or reaction as Mr Justice McFarland told the defendant “it’s clear that for whatever reason, you did lose control in an extreme loss of temper which resulted in the assault on Hunter which resulted in his death".
Hunter died on 26 November 2019 having sustained significant injuries to his head and abdomen while in the care of Ali but even though he knew the infant was hurt, at no stage did he try to get him medical help or assistance.
Ali, with an address at Westerna Terrace in Monaghan, was due to go on trial six months ago but with a jury sworn in and prepared to hear six weeks of evidence, he had an 11th hour change of heart and finally confessed his guilt.
The court was told on Thursday how Hunter had sustained 19 separate sites of injury to his head and body with the assistant state pathologist determining the cause of the “much loved, happy and affectionate” infant’s death was blunt force trauma to the head.
The court also heard however that in addition, Hunter has also sustained injuries to his genitalia.
Police welcomed the sentencing, describing the case as 'distressing'.
Detective Inspector Mark Gibson said: “First and foremost, my thoughts today are with Hunter’s loving mother and family, who have suffered terribly.
"This is a loss that no one – no parent – should ever have to endure.
“Mr Ali, who was in a relationship with Hunter's mother, had been entrusted to look after the baby while she went to visit a sick relative. It was then that he inflicted serious injuries.
“He originally claimed the little one had sustained head injuries from a fall, but he subsequently admitted to murder.
“Evidence gathered, which includes CCTV footage, shows Mr Ali driving from Keady to a casino in Castleblaney, where he remains for almost two and a half hours, leaving baby Hunter outside in the car, alone that cold November evening.
“It’s later that night, however, having returned to the house in Keady, that Hunter’s young life is taken. He dies from serious injuries. Injuries inflicted by Sharyar Ali – the very person who should have been caring for and protecting him." “It’s been an extremely distressing case, and I’m grateful to my officers for their dedication and sensitivity from the beginning of the investigation right through to today’s sentencing.
"We have also worked closely with the Public Prosecution Service to bring Mr Ali to justice.
“Unfortunately, I’m acutely aware that the family’s deep sorrow doesn’t end today – it will last a lifetime. And my thoughts remain with them.
"The Police Service of Northern Ireland remains committed to investigating all reports of abuse against children and young people. If you’re concerned about a child’s welfare, please contact police on 101, or in an emergency call 999.”
Ciaran McQuillan, Head of the Public Prosecution Service Serious Crime Unit, said they were considering appealing the sentence.
“We recognise the pain and distress suffered by the family of baby Hunter McGleenon since he was murdered by Sharyar Ali on 26 November 2019. Our thoughts are with baby Hunter’s family as they continue to try to cope with his devastating loss. “While sentencing is a matter for the judiciary, the Director of Public Prosecutions does have the power to refer particular sentences to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that they may be unduly lenient.
"An unduly lenient sentence is one that falls outside the range of sentences that a judge, taking into consideration all relevant factors and having regard to sentencing guidance, could reasonably consider appropriate. “We are considering whether there is a legal ground to refer the sentence in this case to the Court of Appeal for consideration.”
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