Man who murdered 10-month-old stepson could have sentence increased

A man who murdered his 10-month-old stepson could have his minimum 28-year sentence increased.

Craig Crouch, 39, was found guilty of murder and three counts of child cruelty earlier this month and jailed for life after causing “acute physical and mental suffering” to Jacob Crouch over six months.

Crouch assaulted Jacob in a “vicious” fatal attack in December 2020, and a jury heard the child had 39 rib fractures, 19 visible bruises and internal injuries comparable with car crash victims.

Jacob Crouch death
Jacob Crouch was 10 months old when he was murdered by Craig Crouch (Derbyshire Police/PA)

Jacob’s mother, Gemma Barton, was also jailed at Derby Crown Court for 10 years for causing or allowing his death, and child cruelty.

A seven-week trial heard Jacob was found dead in his cot at the family home in Foxley Chase, Linton, near Swadlincote in Derbyshire, in December 2020.

The Attorney General’s Office told the BBC the sentences were being reviewed, with both were being considered under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme.

They added the Law Officers have 28 days from sentencing to consider the case and make a decision.

In a victim personal statement read out in court, Andrew Smith, Jacob’s father, said before the sentencing: “The pain will be with me for a lifetime. It will never go away.

“I can’t understand how or why you could inflict the injuries you did, Craig.

“My boy has some justice now, but it will never be enough for his suffering.”