Meir killer Scott Hepburn smashed baby's head against wall
BRUTAL killer Scott Hepburn threw his partner’s 18-month-old son on to the floor before twice smashing his head against a wall – because the baby wouldn’t stop crying.
Hepburn said he was tired and just ‘flipped’ when little Ashley Johnson continued to sob.
The 33-year-old tried to cover up what he had done by putting the semi-conscious child back into his cot and telling his mother, Samantha Knox, that her son was sleepy when she returned to her home in Woodgate Street, Meir.
He then casually watched television on a computer and pretended he didn’t know what had happened when Samantha discovered her son’s injuries.
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Hepburn, of Fenpark Road, Fenton, was jailed for life at Stafford Crown Court yesterday.
The judge told him he must serve almost 15 years in prison before he would be eligible for parole.
Hepburn had denied murdering Ashley and was due to stand trial in January, but changed his plea to guilty. Police said the case against him was ‘overwhelming’.
After his arrest, Hepburn told officers he would never think of laying a finger on Ashley. But when police put medical evidence of Ashley’s injuries to him at a later interview, he confessed to the attack on January 27.
In the interview which was read out to the court, Hepburn said: “He was on the settee crying and I picked him up and walked around the room, but he still kept crying.
“I just didn’t know what to do. I tried to walk him round the room but he was constantly crying. I was tired anyway from getting up in the night and I really just flipped.
“I just like dropped him, sort of threw him on the floor, and he was still crying so I did it again.
“I picked him up again as he was still crying and I smashed his head against the wall twice.
“As a result of that, he stopped crying.”
Ashley was taken to hospital but died after suffering extensive fractures to his skull, causing a ‘catastrophic’ brain injury.
He also suffered a fracture to his leg in the 20-minute attack.
Hepburn, who was jailed for 30 months in 2002 for an arson attack, said he had never meant to kill the child.
He had been in a relationship with Samantha for four months and had increasingly been staying at her home overnight after the pair, who knew each other from school, had got back in touch on Facebook. Prosecutor Robert Price read out a statement from Samantha to the court, in which she said: “There will never be any words to describe the pain I go through each day.
“If I could have one wish, it would be to have you back in my arms and to hear you say mum again.”
Hepburn, who lived with his parents, was described in court as someone who had never really had any close friends and would spend most of his time alone in his bedroom on his computer.
Sentencing Hepburn, Judge Simon Tonking said: “You were alone with Ashley for about an hour and during that time you brutally killed him in what was a sustained and forceful assault. On your own admission you twice threw him on to the floor from a height of about three feet and then twice banging, or slamming as you said, his head full on against the wall.
“The reason which you have given for doing this is that he was crying and would not stop and you were tired, having got up to look after Ashley during the night.
“You have taken a son from his mother and a grandchild from his grandparents.”