Man who beat new girlfriend's baby with garden chair guilty of murder


A man who beat his new girlfriend's baby with a garden chair has been found guilty of murder.

Finley John Thomas was just 17 months old when he died after suffering a fractured skull and broken ribs.

Sean Buckley, 28, of Tonypandy, South Wales, had tried to claim the toddler had fallen downstairs after paramedics found the child motionless and looking ghostly in colour.

However, doctors later discovered Finley had suffered a severe bleed to the brain and also found an older injury behind his right ear.

Prosecuting counsel Roger Thomas QC, at Cardiff Crown Court, described the attack on the child as "deliberate and vicious".

In his opening of the case, he said: "It is very unusual for a child to have the kind of injuries Finley suffered as a result of a fall down the stairs.

"Most falls down the stairs do not cause subdural haemorrhages."

As well as the murder conviction, Buckley was also found guilty of child cruelty.

The latter charge had been admitted by his partner and Finley's mother Chloe Thomas, 25.

Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Cymru/Wales, described the case as "deeply shocking".

He said: "A defenceless toddler was subjected to appalling levels of violence by a man who should have been protecting him.

"Finley's young life has been tragically cut short and his mother's admission of cruelty further highlights his complete lack of protection from the abuse being inflicted on him. Everyone who has followed the trial will have been deeply affected by the evidence of brutality that blighted Finley's life.

"It is a sad reality that cases of abuse and neglect take place every day in homes across the country. Each will severely damage a child's future. Babies and young children are entirely dependent on those who care for them and we all have a duty to look out for their welfare.

"We now expect there to be a detailed case review which should provide much-needed answers into how this tragedy took place and help prevent children like Finley suffering in this way again."