Mental health order on man who tortured baby to death

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A leading prosecutor broke down at the Old Bailey yesterday as he outlined a catalogue of torture inflicted on a six-month-old baby in the weeks leading up to his death.

Barrister Jeremy Donne was unable to continue describing Liam Roos's final agony shortly before being shaken to death by 35-year-old Michael Clifton.

Clifton, unemployed, from Stoke Newington, north London admitted the manslaughter of the baby on 8 May this year. The court was told that Liam's mother, Joan Spate, met Clifton two months after she gave birth and he became her boyfriend. Clifton formed an instant hatred for the baby and embarked upon a sustained and sadistic campaign of torture. The assaults included scratching the inside of the baby's throat with a knife and putting turpentine and washing up liquid in his mouth. He later admitted that he had known he was going to kill the child.

Judge Hawkins made an interim order under the Mental Health Act for Clifton to be assessed. The court was told that he suffered severe personality disorder bordering on psychopathic.