Dad is jailed for the brutal death of baby

Jonathan Gray

A father who murdered his baby son has been jailed for a minimum of 17 years.

Ryan Leslie (26) had already been convicted of killing 14-week-old Cameron Jay Leslie, who died in a Belfast hospital in September 2008 after suffering a series of severe injuries.

He must serve a life sentence before being considered for release. Judge Mr Justice Ben Stephens told him he was a violent individual who had shown no remorse for his crimes.

Last month, a jury unanimously found Leslie, from Ballyvesey Green, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, guilty of both murder and of causing his son grievous bodily harm.


During his six-week trial, it emerged that in an effort to stop his son crying, the accused had squeezed him so hard that he fractured 14 of his ribs. He also inflicted a severe blow to the back of the baby's head, which caused brain injuries that led to his death.

He died days later in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. A post-mortem examination found that as well as the rib fractures, the baby had suffered massive brain damage, retinal haemorrhages and bruising to many areas of his body.

Leslie inflicted the injuries weeks after he had split up from Cameron's mother Sheree Black, when she allowed him to look after their son on certain nights at his flat.

The judge told Belfast Crown Court that Leslie had breached the trust of a father-son relationship and had put off calling 999 even though he knew he had inflicted injuries on him.

"In short, you delayed seeking medical assistance knowing that once you did so your brutality to Cameron could well be discovered," he said. "Not only did you inflict horrific and fatal injuries on your son, but you failed to obtain the medical treatment that you knew he so desperately needed and you did this for your selfish ends."

He said he had subsequently failed to help treating doctors by giving them a false account of what happened. Leslie said his son had hit his head on his plastic bath and claimed the rib fractures occurred when he tried to perform CPR on him.

Describing him as a "dishonest and deeply manipulative individual", Mr Justice Stephens said Leslie's explanations to police were "farcical".

The judge imposed a four year minimum term on the count of grievous bodily harm to run concurrently with his murder tariff.