Stepdad found guilty of murdering 22-month-old toddler

David Harding
Contributor
Erin Tomkins (PA)

A man has been found guilty of killing his 22-month-old stepdaughter after she was found with bruises on her face and body.

Chef Martin Johnson, 20, told police he had been playing with Erin Tomkins at her home when she suddenly collapsed.

But prosecutors told a jury of four men and eight women at Sheffield Crown Court that medical experts found a number of bruises on Erin’s body, including ’10 areas of injury to the head and face’.

A post-mortem found that Erin, who was a few weeks short of her second birthday, had also suffered a broken arm and a number of fractures to her spine in the weeks leading up to her death.

Johnson was found guilty after less than two hours of deliberations, along with two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He is set to be sentenced on Friday afternoon.

Erin’s mother Kira Tomkins was in tears in the public gallery along with members of her family as the verdict was returned.

The jury heard how Erin was taken to hospital in May last year after Johnson phoned 999 from Miss Tomkins’s home in the Gleadless area of Sheffield.

Staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital found bruises on her face and body, bruising and bleeding to the surface of her brain, which was also swollen, and bleeding to both eyes.

South Yorkshire Police Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker (PA)

Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker said the murder was one of the worst crimes he had dealt with in his 32-year career.

‘This is a man, Martin Johnson, who has shown absolutely no remorse whatsoever and has been in total denial.

‘To make it even worse he’s tried to blame Erin’s mother for this awful, awful crime.’

He added: ‘This is a man who came into this girl’s life and five months later she was dead. He moved into the house and three months later she was dead.

‘This is a man who took it on himself to break a little girl’s arm and at the hospital said she’d fallen off the sofa.

‘This is a man who at some stage caused a girl to have four back fractures. This is a man responsible for 27 bruises on that little girl and then went on to kill that little girl.

‘This is a man who’s been quite abhorrent throughout and he’s got what he deserves in the end.’

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