Boyfriend guilty of ‘sadistic’ murder of 15-month-old boy

Jacob Lennon was tortured and murdered by his mother’s boyfriend, Jake Drummond (PA)
Jacob Lennon was tortured and murdered by his mother’s boyfriend, Jake Drummond (PA)

A former caretaker who shook and beat to death his girlfriend’s 15-month-old son after a campaign of horrific abuse has been convicted of murder.

Jake Drummond, 33, inflicted terrible violence on toddler Jacob Lennon during his short life, and ultimately left him with a face so bruised and swollen that he looked “like a panda”.

Jacob had been hit and shaken when he died on August 27, 2019, from injuries sustained at his home in Roehampton, and doctors later discovered evidence of a pattern of abuse.

The boy’s mother, Louise Lennon, 32, failed to intervene to stop Drummond’s violence, despite a message five days before the murder from her partner saying he was going to put her son into the “torture chamber”.

At the end of an Old Bailey trial, Drummond was convicted of Jacob’s murder and wounding with intent.

Lennon had admitted child cruelty and was found guilty by a jury of causing or allowing the death of a child.

The couple blamed each other for Jacob’s injuries during the trial, which also heard how the boy had been placed under a child protection plan by social services under the category of emotional abuse in December 2018.

But on August 20 2019 Lennon lied to the social worker by saying she was on holiday in Hastings to skip a planned visit.

Meanwhile, Drummond had already embarked on “a campaign of deliberately assaulting and hurting Jacob”, prosecutor Sally O’Neill KC had said.

Drummond was frustrated at Jacob staying in bed with him and Lennon rather than his cot as the defendant struggled with sleeplessness due to his cocaine habit.

On the day before the fatal attack, Drummond was also angered at having to go to a police station after a former girlfriend accused him of harassing her in a way that was “little short of obsessive”.

Early the next day, Jacob was taken out of bed and shaken and hit so severely he fell unconscious, jurors were told.

Afterwards, Lennon concocted a story for emergency services that Jacob had fallen out of his cot.

She also claimed he had tripped on the way from a supermarket back to their flat in Roehampton, south-west London, days before.

Medics found Jacob’s eyes were so swollen they could not open and he “looked like a panda”.

He had more bruises on his forehead, temples and cheeks and his skull was described as being soft and spongy.

Jacob, who was later found to have traces of cocaine in his body, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead just over an hour later.

A post-mortem examination found he died from a fatal head injury, likely from being hit against a blunt surface while being shaken.

Some of his injuries were inflicted days or weeks before the final assault.

Ms O’Neill told jurors: “There were 20 marks of recent injury on Jacob’s head, face and neck, 11 to his upper limbs, seven to his lower limbs and seven to his trunk.”

The pathologist identified a “gaping” 3cm long cut to Jacob’s penis from “extreme pinching” or “biting” and a wound to his scrotum.

The prosecutor said: “The injury to the scrotum was a penetrating injury as a result of penetration by a semi-sharp or sharp object such as a small-bladed weapon including a skewer or similar in preceding days.”

The injuries to Jacob’s genitals were said to be “sadistic” and were the subject of Drummond’s wounding charge.

Drummond denied that he injured Jacob and Lennon said she was being “coerced and threatened” by her boyfriend into not getting help for her son.

The court heard that Drummond received a juvenile warning in 2005 for holding a knife against his mother’s throat and a conviction in 2008 for assaulting another ex-girlfriend by pushing her against a wall.

The other ex-partner he was warned against harassing also claimed he had previously grabbed her around the neck to the point she nearly passed out, jurors were told.

Drummond was remanded into custody and Lennon was freed on bail until sentencing by Mr Justice Sweeting on April 24.