January 2011

Ryan was kept in squalor .. but dogs had clean bowls

THE evil couple who killed little “Ryan Lovell-Hancox” (pic below) doted on their pet dogs as they systematically brutalised the three-year-old

One was a puppy Christopher Taylor bought for girlfriend Kayley Boleyn (both pictured below) two days before Ryan, who they were supposed to be looking after for his mum, succumbed to the terrible injuries they inflicted.

A policeman close to the case told how the pair’s grubby bedsit “was the dirtiest, smelliest dwelling you could imagine”

He added: “Ryan was kept in absolute squalor but the dogs had clean bowls of food and water.”

The sentiment was echoed by Wolverhampton Crown Court judge Julia Macur as she jailed the couple for life for murdering Ryan, who had 75 separate injuries.

Referring to the two mongrels they kept, she said: “Both of you showed more concern for the introduction into your home of two dogs than you did for Ryan’s care.

“Those two dogs apparently received greater attention and greater care.”

Violent alcoholic Taylor, 25, will serve a minimum of 15 years.

And barely-literate Boleyn, 19, will stay locked up for at least 13 years.

Ryan was “given” to the pair — convicted of murder and child cruelty in March — by his mum Amy Hancox, 21.

Depressed after splitting with the child’s dad, she felt she could not cope with him while she decorated her house.

Amy paid Boleyn, a close family friend who had been raised with her, £40 a week.

But less than a month after she handed Ryan over, the boy was dead.

Instead of caring for him, Boleyn and ex-crack addict Taylor used him as a punchbag.

He was thrown against walls, locked in a cupboard, punched and rubbed in his own urine at the couple’s bedsit in Bilston, Wolverhampton

Ryan finally died of a brain haemorrhage on Christmas Eve 2008 after being admitted to hospital.

He had suffered ten blows to his head in his final hours that caused injuries like those of a car crash victim.

And he had bruises all over his face, jaw, buttocks, torso and limbs

In a blistering condemnation, Justice Macur told Boleyn and Taylor: “You entered into a private fostering arrangement with his mother which she will regret to her dying day.

“The child was missing his mother, missing his sister and missing the comfort he would have received from your care.

“You were both entirely incapable of looking after yourselves, let alone a child.

“He was vulnerable not least by his age but also by his isolation.

“You were effectively bullies in every sense of the word.

“You took out all your petty angers and tempers on this little boy who you regarded as hyper-active and out of control.

“The last few weeks of his life before his death must have seemed like a lifetime.

“He would have suffered physically and emotionally.”

She added: “After the final assault at least you sought help and called an ambulance, but only because you realised the injury was so serious.

“This child died after days of physical ill-treatment and died in hell and squalor.”

Amy and Ryan’s dad John Lovell, 24, were in court to see the sentencing.

Afterwards they said of the killers: “They deprived Ryan of his life and so they should be deprived of their freedom.”

They added in a statement: “We don’t believe they should ever be released and life should mean life.

“We think about Ryan every day and realise nothing will ever bring him back.”

The murder is the subject of a Serious Case Review by Wolverhampton City Council.

Ryan was not the subject of a child protection plan and was not judged to be “at risk” by care professionals who came into contact with him.

But the review is scrutinising social services’ contact with Boleyn and the actions of a support group which found the bedsit for her.

During the killers’ trial it emerged that a council housing officer called at the bedsit hours before Ryan died, saw his leg sticking out from a duvet and heard him moaning.

But she assumed it was simply a child waking from a sleep.

June 2011

A damning report yesterday found that 14 agencies missed chances to save Ryan Lovell-Hancox.

A battered toddler died hours after an official mistook his groans for the sounds of him waking up.

He suffered 75 different injuries at the hands of carer Kayley Boleyn and her crack addict boyfriend Christopher Taylor. Their trial was told of torture, hell and squalor.

Various council departments and the police, probation service and a housing charity had all failed to intervene in the run-up to the  ‘bubbly’ three-year-old’s death on Christmas Eve 2008.

He had been thrown against walls and floors, locked in a cupboard and punched, slapped and screamed at so aggressively by the pair that he wet himself through fear.

In his final hours he suffered head injuries comparable to those seen in children in a head-on car crash.

Ryan died a month after his depressed mother, Amy Hancox began paying childhood friend Boleyn £40 a week to look after him at her bedsit in Bilston, West Midlands.

A serious case review into Ryan’s death, published yesterday, disclosed how police ‘lost’ details of a previous allegation that Boleyn, 19, assaulted a sibling – a fact which could have flagged her up as a potential danger to children.

Probation staff also failed to  properly record that Taylor, 25, had been branded a medium-level risk to children.

A charity paid to  monitor Boleyn at her bedsit during her transition from the care system to an independent adult life used ‘poorly trained staff’ who did not visit her often enough. It was one  of their officers who failed to  investigate Ryan’s groans of pain.

Yesterday’s report  made 60 recommendations.

Sarah Norman, of Wolverhampton City Council, admitted the authority had ‘failed’ to protect Ryan from harm and apologised to his family.

She said the council had already acted on the recommendations and had brought its ‘after care’ service back in-house.

Boleyn and Taylor were convicted of murder and child cruelty last year and sentenced to life in prison.

The court heard how Ryan’s life was turned to ‘hell’ as he was forced to live in squalor during the month spent with Boleyn and Taylor.

The violence he suffered at the hands of the couple, who were both addicted to cannabis and alcohol, was not borne from a ‘flash of temper’ but was sustained and horrific.

The child was repeatedly beaten about the face, back and buttocks. His skull received 10 severe blows and he had more than 70 injuries to his body by the time he died.

Two days before his death, Miss Hancox confronted Boleyn and Taylor at their home as she tried to see her son for what would have been the last time.

But by this stage the boy had severe bruising to his face and they stopped her from entering the house.

The duo even managed to see off a social worker the day Ryan was taken to hospital in a coma.

Although Ryan was not known to social services and was not classified as being at risk, the review found that the council’s contract with the provider of its leaving care service was badly-drafted and self-contradictory in key areas.

The city council was also criticised for ineffective monitoring of the contractor, which sent a staff member to Boleyn’s flat on the day Ryan was fatally injured.

The case review found that the final contractor visit involved a staff member who had no social work qualification and insufficient training.

Admitting that the city council should have done more to help Ryan’s mother, Ms Norman said: ‘I am clear that our job is to protect children from harm and in this case we and other agencies failed to do that.

‘We have learnt the lessons from this tragic case and have acted on all of the recommendations in the serious case review with the aim of minimising the risk of something like this happening again in our city.

‘We accept that more should have been done to identify the needs of the mother in this case.

‘The serious case review has also highlighted the inadequate contract and monitoring arrangements we had with the charity Shaftesbury Young People, which provided our support service for young people leaving care.

‘This service is now back in-house and run by the city council in order to work better with other care services.’