London: A 27-year-old Indian-origin man has been sentenced to life for the murder of a toddler son of his girlfriend in the UK.
Hardeep Hunjan was convicted of murder earlier this week following the death of 13-month-old Noah Serra-Morrison, who suffered 15 fractures to his body, including a six-inch wound across his skull. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 23 years in jail at Luton Crown Court on Friday.
Noah's mother, 22-year-old, Ronnie Tayler-Morrison, was cleared of murder but, along with Hunjan, jailed for six-and-a-half years for causing or allowing the death of a child and of cruelty to a child under 16.
"In my view neither of you have provided a truthful account and it remains a mystery why you, Hunjan, attacked him," said Justice Baker.
"But at some stage you took hold of Noah and in addition to punching him to his head, you swung him into one of the walls with sufficient force to cause a fracture to his skull and all four of his limbs," Baker said.
The couple had claimed that Noah injured himself falling from his cot, a claim prosecutors said was implausible during the trial at Luton Crown Court in the east of England.
"This has truly been one of the most shocking and sickening cases of violence we have ever come across," Bedfordshire Police said.
The couple, who had a "chaotic" relationship fuelled by alcohol and cannabis attempted to wash away forensic evidence in a shower in the "blind hope that somehow they might get away with it," prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff told the court.
The trial heard Noah was subjected to horrific and deliberate abuse for weeks before he died.
A postmortem examination revealed that he suffered fractures to an arm and leg around a week before his death, and similar injuries to an arm and leg between four and six weeks before he died, 15 fractures in total, along with bruising over his entire body.
Medical experts said the boy's injuries were similar to those found in people involved in a car crash or who had fallen from a building.