A male has been sentenced to life behind bars after being found guilty of the murder of a defenceless 22-month-old boy.
Jonathan Simpson will spend a minimum of 19 years in prison for the murder of Jacob Marshall in Speke in 2019.
25-year-old Simpson, of no fixed abode, but originally from Winsford in Cheshire, was convicted of murder yesterday (Wednesday 10 March) following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
The court heard how the emergency services were called to an address in Belsford Way, Speke on the afternoon of Friday 12 July 2019.
Jacob suffered injuries to his body and a wound to his head that would prove to be fatal. Medics rushed Jacob to hospital where he sadly passed away.
Simpson had been looking after Jacob that afternoon.
He was arrested two days later in the Cheshire area and brought back to Merseyside for questioning, and was later charged with murder.
Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary said Simpson, who had convictions for 31 previous offences, had given “a variety of accounts” of how the toddler came by his injuries but all were untrue.
“Only you know precisely what you did that afternoon to hurt Jacob in this way and you have chosen, cruelly and cowardly, to keep that a murky secret,” he said.
“Instead you have lied and lied again about the cause of Jacob’s death.”
The judge said he would assume Simpson, was acting “in a rage” when he carried out the attack because if it had been “calculated violence” it would have been “unspeakably wicked”.
“You have not shown a jot of regret or remorse about any aspect of the case other than fury about being arrested in the first place,” he added.
Miss Marshall said in a victim impact statement:
“Jacob was born on 17th September 2017 and it was the happiest day of my life. I welcomed another son into the world and a little brother for Thomas.
“Jacob was always a happy little boy, who was boisterous and made me laugh all of the time. He had his own cheeky little ways, he always had the biggest grin you have ever seen.
“He loved watching Disney films, even if he couldn’t pick which one he wanted to watch. He was forever asking for juice and some sweets.
“Jacob loved his food, he would even eat Thomas’s if he didn’t finish his tea. He had the most amazing relationship with his brother, Thomas and anyone he came into contact with because he was such a happy little boy.
“On Friday 12th July 2019 my life changed forever, I made the decision to leave my baby Jacob in the care of Jonathon Simpson and that is something I will regret for the rest of my life.
“I was in the hairdresser getting my hair done, which is something I didn’t do very often, when I received a call from my sister telling me that I needed to get to the hospital straight away. I didn’t realise the seriousness of Jacob’s condition as when Jonathon had told me something had happened he had played the whole thing down. It was only when I arrived at the hospital I realised how serious Jacob’s condition was as he had been rushed into surgery.
“I had all different emotions going through my head, I wanted to know what had happened to him, why my baby boy was now in surgery as when I left him a short time before there was nothing wrong with him and I had no concerns for him at all. In that short space time my life had been turned upside down and Jacob was now fighting for his life. Not knowing what was happening in surgery was unbearable, all I wanted was answers on how they were going to make him better.
“When Jacob came out of surgery and the Doctors told me that there was nothing more they could do, I cannot describe the pain that I felt, my whole world fell apart in that instant. Sitting in the hospital waiting felt like forever but at the same time I didn’t want it to end because I knew that when it did we would have to say goodbye to Jacob forever and the thought of that was truly devastating.
“Saturday 13th July 2019 is a day that will stay with me for the rest of my life, as this was the day my baby Jacob passed away after his life support machine was switched off. When they told me it was time, my whole world crumbled. Words cannot describe how I felt as I held Jacob in my arms waiting for my little boy to slip away.
“After he passed away I was taken over to the bereavement suite where I was able to hold Jacob, I lay down on the couch with him holding in him my arms and fell asleep. When I was woken up by Elaine I was hoping that it had all been a horrible nightmare, but it wasn’t, my baby had gone and there was nothing I could do about it. That night leaving Jacob in the hospital on his own tore me apart, knowing that he was all alone. I was completely numb.
“In the days after Jacob had died I had to stay strong as I had Thomas to think about, when really all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and pretend that none of this was happening, that it was all just a bad dream, but it wasn’t.
“I also had to tell my son, Thomas that his little brother Jacob wasn’t coming home. My mum and I told him together, I can’t describe how much it broke my heart having to tell him that he was never going to see Jacob again.
“We told Thomas that Jacob got sick and there was nothing the doctors could do to make him better, but I’m not sure whether he fully understood what that meant as he knew Jacob wasn’t unwell and would ask the reason why he had to go to hospital. I wasn’t able to tell him the truth but I know that one day, when he gets older, I am going to have to tell him the devastating truth of what really happened to Jacob and I can’t imagine the effect that this will have on him.
“On the day of his funeral I felt numb with pain and grief and my heart ached for Jacob. No one should ever have to bury their child, especially a child who had his whole life in front of him. Words can’t really express the pain that I felt that day and still do. When the funeral was coming to an end and I had to say goodbye, I couldn’t. I remember just standing there, not wanting to leave my baby boy, I just stared at the picture of him smiling with my heart breaking.
“Following Jacob’s death I found it really hard to look at photographs and videos of him however slowly I have been able to start looking through them again. I have always found it difficult to speak to Thomas about Jacob due to the circumstances surrounding his death and although it’s getting a bit easier I do still struggle.
“It’s hard knowing that Thomas will never grow up with Jacob doing things that little brothers do, playing, fighting, arguing and getting into mischief like brothers do. I will never get to see Jacob grow up, I will never get to take him for his first day at school, I can only imagine what type of person he would have grown up to be. I will never see him getting married and have his own children, these are all things that people take for granted but this has been taken away from me and Thomas by Jonathon Simpson.
“I do want to know what happened to Jacob but at the same time I don’t want to know as I can’t stand the thought that Jacob may have been frightened, may have been asking for me, whether he was aware of what had happened to him and whether he had suffered and I don’t know whether I would be to deal with this.
“Even after the trial I may never know the whole truth about what went on that day, Jonathon Simpson, is the only person who can tell me what really happened that day, he is hiding something as he has given different accounts of what happened, the one last decent thing he could do for Jacob is tell the truth. I want justice for Jacob but no matter what the outcome is, it will never bring my baby Jacob back. I miss Jacob every day and he will always be in my heart”.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Sabi Kaur said:
“This has been an absolutely heart-breaking case, in which we have seen the utter devastation that Simpson caused, and continues to cause, to Jacob’s family and to everyone who knew him.
“It is difficult to comprehend how Simpson could end the life of a 22-month-old child and then, having done so, run away and deny any responsibility, both to Jacob’s mother and then to police. His cowardly actions at the time of Jacob’s death and since have only served to add further suffering to everyone affected.
“We can only hope that Simpson being brought to justice today gives Jacob’s family and their friends some sense of justice to help their healing going forward. No sentence could ever replace the pain of losing Jacob, but we’d like to thank his family for their bravery and strength throughout this unimaginable ordeal.
“I’d also like to highlight the hard work and determination of our investigation team, medical experts and all those involved in bringing this difficult and distressing investigation to a satisfactory conclusion.”
Stay up-to-date with more news from the front line by subscribing to our free newsletter. Subscribe by clicking HERE (you do not have to serve in the emergency services to subscribe).
If you have the Google News app on your phone, don’t forget to follow ‘Emergency Services News’.