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'Wicked' Stepfather Jailed For Boy's Murder
A "wicked" man who murdered his five-year-old stepson has received a life sentence.
Elvis Lee was found guilty of murdering Tyler Whelan and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years in jail by Cambridge Crown Court.
The 34-year-old denied murder but admitted he kicked Tyler on the day of his death at his home in Paston, near Peterborough.
The child was kicked so hard he flew two feet through the air, hit a door and ruptured his abdomen, which slowly killed him.
The judge, Mr Justice Nicol, described Tyler as "particularly vulnerable".
"His young life was cut tragically short. This has been a tragedy for his father, his mother and the rest of the family.
"Tyler was particularly vulnerable because of his age. He was only half your height and a quarter of your weight," Mr Justice Nicol said to Lee.
The boy's mother, 27-year-old Stephanie Whelan, was found guilty of allowing the boy's death and will be sentenced next month.
A serious case review by the Peterborough Safeguarding Children Board, published after the verdict, found that opportunities to protect Tyler had been missed.
The report acknowledged failings by the organisations responsible for his care, including Peterborough Children's Services.
But it concluded that it was impossible to say that, if there had been greater intervention, the tragedy would have been prevented.
The trial heard how Tyler had suffered a number of "non-accidental" injuries in the year before his death.
Michael Borrelli QC, who defended Lee, said the attack on March 7 last year was not pre-meditated, but was due to a loss of temper and "act of spite".
He said: "My client was himself the victim of considerable violence as a child.
"He lacked a real appreciation as to the consequences of what he did because, despite the treatment he himself had been the victim of, he had never suffered serious injury."
Superintendent Simon Megicks, from Cambridgeshire Police, described Lee as a "controlling" man.
He said: "This was a wicked crime in which an innocent five-year-old was murdered by a person who should have been looking after him."
The child's father, Shaun Harrison, said he held Lee and Whelan entirely responsible for Tyler's death.
"The last year of my life has been unbearable. Tyler was a fun-loving, mischievous little boy with a big heart and amazing smile.
"I feel lost without him in my life and I still can't believe he's gone," he said.