A 20-year-old man has been found guilty of the murder of a toddler in Sheffield and jailed for life.
Martin Johnson (pictured), formerly of Leighton Road, Gleadless, has been on trial at Sheffield Crown Court since Monday 21 January charged with the murder of Erin Emilia Rain Tomkins.
fter less than two hours of deliberations, he was found guilty of Erin’s murder in a unanimous verdict by the jury.
During the trial, two charges of Section 18 wounding were added to the indictment. Johnson was also found guilty of these charges.
He was sentenced this to life in prison, to serve a minimum term of 19 years.
He was also jailed for six years for each count of assault, which will run alongside his life term.
The court heard how Erin, who was one month away from turning two-years-old, was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital on Monday 21 May 2018.
Paramedics had responded to reports that Erin was unconscious and not breathing, at around 10am that morning. She was taken to hospital with significant injuries, where she was placed on life support.
Police were called after paramedics and medical professionals raised concerns that Erin’s injuries appeared suspicious and non-accidental.
Sadly, just after 12.30am on Tuesday 22 May 2018, Erin died.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker, senior investigating officer, said:
“This has been a highly emotive case, where my officers have had to examine the circumstances surrounding the horrific death of a child.
“I offer my condolences to Erin’s mother and her family, who are still trying to come to terms with their loss. This trial must have been incredibly painful for those affected by Erin’s death and Erin’s mother in particular has shown considerable strength, providing evidence and supporting the police investigation.
“Johnson has shown no remorse for his crime whatsoever and has consistently denied his involvement in Erin’s death, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. To compound this, he has told lie after lie before the court, even attempting to blame Erin’s mum for the injuries, which clearly has caused even more distress for the family.
“All of the evidence has been meticulously reviewed and the only person responsible for this horrific offence is Martin Johnson.”
This found evidence of numerous spinal fractures, in excess of 27 bruises that were both old and recent, and significant head injuries.
Erin had also received a broken arm whilst being in the custody of Johnson, two months before her tragic murder in May.
DCI Whittaker added:
“Erin suffered what was described as a catastrophic head injury at Johnson’s hands, which caused irreparable damage and was consistent with multiple blunt force impacts, consistent with being punched and violently assaulted.
“This harrowing evidence was then reinforced by deeply troubling testimony from Erin’s mother about Johnson’s behaviour, who stated that Erin would become deeply distressed if left alone with him.
“This little girl suffered tragically at Johnson’s hands for months. The injuries Erin suffered must have left her in unimaginable pain, unable to communicate to anyone what was happening to her.
“In all my years as a police officer, I have never worked on a case as harrowing and horrific as this one.
“While I am pleased Johnson has been convicted, a successful conviction does not bring Erin back. I hope that Erin’s loved ones and the community affected by this awful incident feel some sort of closure following today’s (8th Feb) hearing, knowing that the person responsible for harming her now faces a lengthy custodial sentence.
“I also want to take this opportunity to recognise the work of my investigative team, who were also affected by this case. The death of a child is always very upsetting but those officers and staff involved have shown compassion, the utmost professionalism and tirelessly sought to achieve justice for Erin.
“I want to thank the specialists and professionals involved in this inquiry, including the Home Office pathologist Dr Charles Wilson, other professional witnesses including Dr Duplesi and medical staff from the Sheffield Children’s hospital.
“Their expertise was of vital importance to understanding what happened to Erin and I’m grateful for their support.”
If you have a story, video or one-off blog that you would like to share with us, then you can contact our team of former emergency services & armed forces personnel either through our Facebook page, via Twitter ( @ES_News_ ) or you can contact us via email: email@example.com
If you run or manage a ‘job’ social media account and you would like us to share one of your stories then send us a tweet or a message!
If you would like to write an article that you would like us to share (it can be about anything to do with the emergency services / NHS) whether you serve in the emergency services / NHS or whether you are a member of the public who has had a good experience with the emergency services, then feel free to contact our team; anonymously if you prefer.
We are proud to act as a voice for the emergency services, armed forces & health service, with over 500,000 people visiting our website each month.
Before you go...
We need your help. As former emergency services & armed forces personnel, we pride ourselves on bringing you important, fast-moving and breaking news stories which are free from the negative bias which is often directed at the emergency services by some sections of the mainstream media.
One of the reasons we started 'Emergency Services News' was because we became tired of reading badly informed stories about the emergency services which seemed only ever to highlight negative aspects of the job.
We want to be the unheard voice of the remarkable men and women who serve in the emergency services, NHS and armed forces. And with around 500k page views each month, we are getting there!
As income from ads, the mainstay source of income for most publishers, continues to decline; we need the help of our readers.
And remember, if you have a service, product or job vacancy that you would like to promote to our large readership, then you can buy advertising space in our articles.
You can support emergency services news from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Every contribution, however big or small, is vital for our future.
Please help us to continue to highlight the life-saving work of the emergency services, NHS and armed forces by becoming a supporter.