A cocaine-using former caretaker who left his girlfriend’s infant son with swollen black eyes amid a campaign of ‘sadistic’ abuse which included renaming his bedroom ‘the torture chamber’ has been found guilty of his murder.
Drug addict Jake Drummond, 33, who would smoke 10 or 15 cannabis spliffs a day, fatally shook and hit 15-month-old Jacob Lennon early on August 27 2019, leaving him with a face like a ‘panda’, the Old Bailey heard.
In the weeks before, Jacob suffered yet more injuries to his face, body and genitals while the boy’s mother Louise Lennon, 32, failed to stop it, jurors were told.
Five days before the killing, Drummond sent her a sinister message saying he was putting Jacob into the ‘torture chamber’ in reference to his bedroom, jurors heard.
Jacob Lennon was just 15 months old when he died after suffering from serious head injuries in August 2019
Mother Louise Lennon, 32, and boyfriend Jake Drummond (pictured), 33, face charges over the death of Jacob Lennon in August 2019
Louise Lennon was convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child will be sentenced in April
It followed a meme of the Hollywood actor Ben Stiller in the film Happy Gilmore with the quote: ‘Now you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep.’
In another message, Lennon referred to Jacob as looking like ‘a little madman’ because of his bruises.
The pair had denied wrongdoing and blamed each other for Jacob’s horrific injuries.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Drummond was found guilty of murder and wounding Jacob with intent.
Lennon, 32, was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child having earlier admitted child cruelty.
The court had heard how social services had placed Jacob under a child protection plan 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.
Jake Drummond’s twisted timeline of violence
2005: Drummond holds a knife to his mother’s throat
2008 Drummond assaults his ex-girlfriend
Dec 2018 Jacob is placed under a child protection plan under the category of emotional abuse
Aug 20 2019 Louise Lennon lies to a social worker by saying she was on holiday in Hastings to skip a planned visit
Aug 26 2019 Drummond is called into police station after an ex-girlfriend accuses him of harassing her in a way that was ‘little short of obsessive’.
Aug 27 2019 Drummond shakes Jacob to death
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.
A pathologist rejected a claim the cut could have been caused by a Toy Story themed ‘Mr Potato Head’ plastic knife.
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
The child endured a 15-month-long campaign of ‘sadistic abuse’
Following baby Jacob’s death in August 2019, a post-mortem examination found injuries consistent with horrendous long-term abuse. Pictured: Louise Lennon
The twisted pair were found guilty at the Old Bailey (pictured) and will be sentenced in April
Earlier in the trial, Lennon had sobbed as prosecutor Sally O’Neill showed her photographs she had taken of her son where his injuries got progressively worse, including severe bruising across his head, a cut lip and the patch of hair that had been removed by hair removal cream.
She said that she saw some of the injuries to Jacob’s genitals but did not see the worst injury, a cut.
Ms O’Neill said she must have seen all the injuries as she was regularly changing Jacob’s nappy.
‘It’s a horrible nasty injury caused to your 16-month-old baby and you knew that the injury had been caused by the man you were having a relationship with.
‘How could that injury have possibly happened in your flat without you knowing about it?’ Ms O’Neill asked.
Lennon said she was asleep.
‘But you’ve told us you’re a light sleeper. I’m sure you agree that a mother is attuned to the cries of her baby, and hears them more than other people do.
‘You agreed it must have been a horrendously painful injury.
‘Jacob would have screamed his head off when that injury was caused to him,’ Ms O’Neill said.
Lennon said Drummond had pinned her down and assaulted her as their relationship deteriorated, and would go on her phone late at night and block the numbers of her ex boyfriends.
Ms O’Neill earlier told jurors: ‘Jake Drummond had embarked on a campaign of deliberately assaulting and hurting Jacob between July and the end of August.
‘The injuries which he caused were obvious and noticeable.
‘Lucy Lennon tried to explain them away by fabricating accidental causes for them when it must have been apparent to her that it was Jake Drummond who was causing them.
‘His eyes were so swollen they were unable to open them. Beneath his eyes was so darkly bruised, he looked like a panda.
‘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 injury to Jacob’s penis and scrotum in particular caused by a sharp implement was sadistic in its cruelty and must have caused great pain to Jacob.
‘Louise Lennon was more concerned with maintaining her relationship with Jake Drummond than protecting her young son from him despite it becoming obvious to her that Jake didn’t like Jacob and Jacob’s ever increasing and unexplained injuries.’
The jury deliberated over two days to find the pair guilty of the charges against them.
Drummond denied but was convicted of murder and wounding with intent.
Lennon denied but was convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child.
She admitted child cruelty.
Mr Justice Sweeting adjourned sentencing until April 24 for reports to be prepared.
Thanking the jury, the senior judge said: ‘It’s been a difficult case, I know, with a lot of distressing evidence for you to hear.’