Couple guilty of murdering abused boy, 3

A couple were today found guilty of murdering three-year-old Ryan Lovell-Hancox who died in hospital on Christmas Eve after being abused, neglected and beaten.

A jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court took seven hours to convict Christopher Taylor and Kayley Boleyn of killing the boy in an attack at their flat in Bilston, West Midlands, in December 2008.



A four-week trial heard that Ryan's mother was paying around £40 a week for Taylor, 25, and 19-year-old Boleyn to look after Ryan while she decorated her home in the month before the boy's death.



The pair were also convicted of child cruelty.









The defendants, who will be sentenced later this year, had been looking after Ryan - who suffered more than 70 injuries - for almost a month when he was subjected to a serious assault at their flat in Slim Avenue on December 22, 2008.

The trial was told that Ryan - who died in hospital two days later - was seen at the bedsit by a housing support officer hours before the attack which led to his death.



The court heard that the officer, who gave Boleyn a lift to a job centre, assumed Ryan was asleep after seeing one of his legs sticking out from under bedding.



It also emerged that a child had also been seen by housing officials at the flat on previous occasions.



Boleyn and Taylor, who both face mandatory life sentences, showed little emotion when the unanimous verdicts were returned, although the female defendant appeared to be on the verge of tears.



At the start of the trial, prosecutor Christopher Hotten QC said Ryan's mother Amy Hancox was struggling to cope with Ryan on her own when she agreed that Boleyn should look after him.

Mr Hotten told the jury: "Some time around November or perhaps the very beginning of December 2008, the arrangement appears to have been for Kayley and Christopher to look after Ryan at Slim Avenue until Christmas.



"In return, Amy was to give Kayley a sum of money each week - one says £20, the other says £40 - and a contribution towards food, gas and electric bills."



The court heard that it was also agreed that Miss Hancox would visit Ryan each day, although she subsequently failed to visit him for two or three days at a time.



Both defendants initially claimed Ryan had hit his head after falling in the bath, but the court heard they later changed their accounts in police interviews.



Ryan was taken to Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital and then transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital after paramedics were called to the flat at about 10.25pm on December 22.



Giving evidence on the second day of the trial, Miss Hancox told jurors she knew nothing of the abuse and last saw Ryan at her house in Bilston for around 20 minutes on December 20.



Ryan had been clingy and upset, his mother said, and did not want to let go of her before leaving with the defendants.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee