Killer stepmother, 23, who filmed her three-year-old stepson as he lay dying from horrific head injury and texted his father ‘why does this happen to me?’ instead of calling 999 is jailed for 15 years
- Harvey Borrington was found by paramedics at the family home ‘unconscious’
- His stepmother Leila Borrington, 23, had said that the toddler fell off a chair
- But Borrington has today been jailed for 15 years for manslaughter following trial
A woman who filmed her three-year-old stepson as he lay dying on the floor with a horrific head injury instead of calling for an ambulance has been jailed for 15 years.
Little Harvey Borrington was found ‘unconscious’ and ‘unresponsive’ by paramedics at the family home in Jacksdale, near Mansfield on August 7 2021, Nottingham Crown Court was told.
His stepmother Leila Borrington, 23, had said that the toddler fell off a chair and she had filmed him moaning on the floor before calling 999 to ‘show paramedics’.
But medical experts found that Harvey’s injuries – including a fractured skull and fatal bleed on the brain – were caused by repeated blows instead of a one-off fall. Several other older injuries, including a broken arm, were also found.
The court heard that rather than call 999, Borrington had texted Harvey’s father saying ‘Why does this happen to me?’
She has today been jailed for 15 years for manslaughter, assault and causing grievous bodily harm.
Leila Borrington, who filmed her three-year-old stepson Harvey Borrington as he lay dying from a brain injury, has been jailed for 15 years at Nottingham Crown Court for manslaughter, assault and causing grievous bodily harm
Harvey Borrington, three, suffered a fractured skull and fatal bleed on the brain while being looked after by his step-mother Leila Borrington at their family home in Jacksdale, Nottingham
Passing sentence, High Court judge Mr Justice Nicklin said the unlawful killing of her stepson, who had severe non-verbal autism, had had a profound effect on his loved ones.
The judge told her that the death of the three-year-old in Nottinghamshire in August 2021 must have been the result of a ‘sustained violent assault’.
Text messages Borrington had sent after breaking Harvey’s arm in April 2021 showed ‘a shocking lack of care and concern’ for the youngster, the judge said.
During a lengthy trial at Nottingham Crown Court she denied ever hitting Harvey, but last month a jury found her guilty of manslaughter.
She was acquitted of an alternative charge of murder.
Borrington was also convicted of separate charges of assaulting and causing grievous bodily harm to Harvey.
Returning a total of seven verdicts after deliberating for more than 24 hours, jurors also cleared Borrington of three charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The killer stepmother wiped away tears with the back of her hands after the verdicts.
Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre is pictured. Harvey Borrington died in hospital after suffering a serious head injury while at home in August 2021 with his stepmother
Harvey, who had spent most weekends with Borrington, died in hospital on August 9 after paramedics were called to the address and found him ‘deeply unconscious’, ‘unresponsive’ and with ‘abnormal body posture’.
Opening the prosecution’s case, Jonas Hankin KC said that Borrington was at home caring alone for the youngster while Harvey’s father had been at work when it was likely the fatal injury was ‘inflicted’ at the couple’s home.
Harvey, who was autistic and non-verbal, was taken to nearby King’s Mill Hospital in Mansfield and then transferred to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, but later died.
Jurors were shown footage, filmed by Borrington just moments after Harvey’s collapse, showing the little boy lying on his right side and moaning with his arms out in front of him.
On the video, which was shot on Borrington’s phone and sent to Harvey’s father who was out at that time, she can he heard saying ‘Harvey, Harv’, while he continues to moan.
She can then be seen taking the boy’s left arm, lifting it up, and letting it drop loosely to the floor, before continuing to film as he moans, and lies, unmoving on a living-room rug.
Her behaviour was described as ‘very unusual in the circumstances’ by Mr Hankin.
‘Her instinct, seeing a child unconscious and in distress having sustained serious injury following a fall, is to reach for her phone and make a video rather than call an ambulance,’ said Mr Hankin.
She later claimed the video was to show paramedics – though she did not, jurors heard.
Mr Hankin added: ‘The tone of her voice, when calling Harvey’s name, in her attempts to rouse him – if that’s an accurate description, we say it is not – suggest an absence of compassion.
‘The lifting and dropping of his arm in that way, similarly, appears to show indifference to the obvious severity of his condition.’
Rather than call 999, she then texted Harvey’s father – out at the cinema – and said: ‘Why does this happen to me?’
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