Former caretaker Jake Drummond, 33, has been found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering his girlfriend’s 15-month-old son Jacob Lennon (Pictures: PA/Central News)
A drug addict has been convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s 15-month-old son after a campaign of ‘sadistic’ abuse.
Jake Drummond, 33, fatally shook and hit 15-month-old Jacob Lennon early on August 27 2019, leaving him with a face so bruised he ‘looked like a panda’.
The youngster suffered a catalogue of other injuries to his face, body and genitals in the weeks leading up to his death which his mum, Louise Lennon, 32, failed to stop.
Five days before the killing, Drummond messaged her saying he was putting Jacob in the ‘torture chamber’ in reference to his bedroom.
It followed a meme of the Ben Stiller in the film Happy Gilmore with the quote: ‘Now you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep.’
In another message, Lennon referred to Jacob as looking like ‘a little madman’ because of his bruises.
The twisted pair denied any wrongdoing and blamed each other for Jacob’s horrific injuries.
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Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Drummond was found guilty of murder and wounding Jacob with intent.
Lennon, 32, was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child having earlier admitted child cruelty.
The court had heard how social services had placed Jacob under a child protection plan under the category of emotional abuse in December 2018.
But on August 20, 2019, Lennon lied to the social worker by saying she was on holiday in Hastings to skip a planned visit.
Meanwhile, Drummond had already embarked on ‘a campaign of deliberately assaulting and hurting Jacob’, prosecutor Sally O’Neill KC had said.
He was frustrated at Jacob staying in bed with him and Lennon rather than his cot as he struggled with sleeplessness due to his cocaine habit.
On the day before the fatal attack, Drummond was also 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’.
Early the next day, Jacob was taken out of bed and shaken and hit so severely he fell unconscious, jurors were told.
Afterwards, Lennon concocted a story for emergency services that Jacob had fallen out of his cot.
She also claimed he had tripped on the way from a supermarket back to their flat in Roehampton, south-west London, days before.
Medics found Jacob’s eyes were so swollen they could not open and he ‘looked like a panda’.
He had more bruises on his forehead, temples and cheeks and his skull was described as being soft and spongy.
Jacob, who was later found to have traces of cocaine in his body, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead just over an hour later.
A post-mortem examination found he died from a fatal head injury, likely from being hit against a blunt surface while being shaken.
Some of his injuries were inflicted days or weeks before the final assault.
Ms O’Neill told jurors: ‘There were 20 marks of recent injury on Jacob’s head, face and neck, 11 to his upper limbs, seven to his lower limbs and seven to his trunk.’
The pathologist identified a ‘gaping’ 3cm long cut to Jacob’s penis from ‘extreme pinching’ or ‘biting’ and a wound to his scrotum.
The prosecutor said: ‘The injury to the scrotum was a penetrating injury as a result of penetration by a semi-sharp or sharp object such as a small-bladed weapon including a skewer or similar in preceding days.’
The injuries to Jacob’s genitals were said to be ‘sadistic’ and were the subject of Drummond’s wounding charge.
A pathologist rejected a claim the cut could have been caused by a Toy Story themed ‘Mr Potato Head’ plastic knife.
Drummond denied that he injured Jacob and Lennon said she was being ‘coerced and threatened’ by her boyfriend into not getting help for her son.
He received a juvenile warning in 2005 for holding a knife against his mother’s throat and a conviction in 2008 for assaulting another ex-girlfriend by pushing her against a wall.
The other ex-partner he was warned against harassing also claimed he had previously grabbed her around the neck to the point she nearly passed out.
The jury deliberated over two days to find the pair guilty of the charges against them.
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