The step-father of ten-month-old Jacob Crouch has been jailed for life for his murder.
Jacob Crouch died on 30 December 2020 after months of cruelty at the hands of his step-father Craig Crouch at their home in Linton, near Swadlincote.
Jacob’s mother, Gemma Barton, was cleared by the jury of his murder, however, they did find her guilty of causing or allowing his death.
The trial at Derby Crown Court heard how Jacob suffered up to 41 broken ribs – caused by being squeezed with serious force on five sperate occasions over many months – with some of the fractures shown to have healed and then been re-broken.
The fatal wound, which experts described as being a kick, stamp or punch with the same force as a road traffic collision, ruptured his bowel causing an infection called peritonitis.
Tragically, the court heard, that had the couple sought immediate medical help for Jacob he would have likely survived.
Both Crouch and Barton denied committing the assaults or knowing how the injuries were caused – but at court the prosecution evidence was overwhelming that both had a part to play in Jacob’s death.
Today (4 August) Crouch, 39, of Donisthorpe Lane, Moira, Swadlincote was jailed for life for Jacob’s murder and must serve a minimum of 28 years in prison.
While Gemma Barton, 33, of Ray Street, Heanor, was jailed for 10 years for her part in allowing Jacob to die.
Detective Inspector Paul Bullock said: “While no sentence can bring Jacob back, I hope that today brings the family some closure on what has been a horrific two-and-a-half-years.
“I would also like to thank them all for the respectful and dignified manner in which they have conducted themselves throughout the trial.
“My condolences remain with them all – and I would ask that their privacy is respected at this time.
“I would also like to thank the whole team for their work on this particularly harrowing case – from the team of detectives and administrators who conducted the investigation, CPS colleagues who helped build the file and the prosecution counsel who laid out our case to the jury.
“You have all helped secure justice for Jacob in a compassionate, professional, and diligent manner that has meant a significantly dangerous individual can cause no further harm.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said:
“The trial of Jacob Crouch’s mother and stepfather revealed shocking and deeply upsetting details of child abuse. Jacob’s short life was marked by sustained cruelty and violence, and our hearts go out to his wider family and the community where this terrible crime took place.
“Jacob was one of 36 children who died in England following abuse and maltreatment at home in 2020. For large parts of the year, due to lockdowns, children were cut-off from their usual support systems and the wider community, making those at risk of abuse more vulnerable to serious harm.
“We would urge anyone who has concerns for a child’s safety to contact the relevant authorities or the NSPCC Helpline, which provides free and confidential help and advice.”