March 2021

Face of thug guilty of murdering tot Lilly Hanrahan after catalogue of abuse

This is the face of thug babysitter Sean Sadler – guilty of murdering toddler Lilly Hanrahan after ‘weeks’ of abuse.

Sadler, who had been left in charge of the tot, was today – March 24 – found guilty of her murder and wounding at Birmingham Crown Court, ending a three-year wait for justice for her family.

Lilly was just 21-months-old when she was rushed to hospital with a catastrophic head injury and six broken ribs in November 2017.

Although surgeons battled to save her, her injuries were unsurvivable and her life support was withdrawn three days later.

Lesley Hanrahan looked after her granddaughter for four months after she was born in February 2016, until more suitable care could be found for her.

Lesley’s daughter, Lilly’s mum, had been unable to care for the newborn herself.

Lilly was placed with a legal guardian and continued to thrive and Lesley was able to see her granddaughter often.

“She loved to dance. She would hear music and her arm would shoot up in the air,” said Lesley.

“I’ve got another grandchild and when you look at her, you’d think it was Lilly, and it kills me.”

In Spring of 2017, the guardian began a relationship with Sadler and he became a regular visitor to their home, often staying overnight.

It wasn’t long before the guardian began to notice bruises on Lilly and photographed them from September 2017, even alerting Lilly’s nursery so they could monitor her.

On the afternoon of Sunday, November 19, 2017 Lilly was left in Sadler’s care while the guardian went out.

Sadler alleged that Lilly went to sleep on the settee, but sometime later she would not wake when he tried to rouse her, so he called an ambulance.

At hospital the extent of Lilly’s injuries became apparent when bruising was found on her scalp under her hair, and following her death extensive post-mortem examinations revealed the head injury which killed her and six broken ribs.

Experts believed these were non-accidental and the likely cause was that Lilly had been violently shaken and thrown against a soft surface, such as the armrest of a settee.

It was not the only abuse Lilly had suffered.

It emerged she had three fractured vertebrae in her spine and bleeding in her lungs which had happened some two to three weeks previously.

Sadler, of Coriander Close in Rubery, was arrested and later charged with Lilly’s murder and wounding.

During his trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the jury heard from expert witnesses who testified they found multiple sites of recent and healing injuries on Lilly’s small body.

They found a total of 40 injuries, including 20 to her head and neck and the rest to her body and limbs. They were considered to be consistent with gripping with excessive force or being slapped or punched

Sadler will be sentenced on Friday, March 26.