POOR BOY: UK postman and wife jailed for murdering their ‘irritating’ toddler

UK toddler murdered for being irritating

A postman who killed his girlfriend’s toddler after becoming “irritated” with him has been jailed for manslaughter.

Scott Coombe repeatedly attacked 18-month-old Andrew Cawker over the course of a year after moving into Tamika Beaton’s flat in southeast London, before inflicting a fatal head injury on the boy.

Beaton, 25, suspected her son was being abused but chose not to intervene or seek help, the Metropolitan Police said.

Andrew died after he was vigorously shaken and thrown by Coombe, who had become “irritated” with caring for him while Beaton was at a dance class in July 2019.

The toddler never regained consciousness after his head hit the floor and he died in hospital two weeks later.

At the Old Bailey on Friday, Coombe was jailed for nine years after admitting manslaughter, child cruelty and assaulting the toddler on three occasions.

Beaton was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 months after being found guilty of child cruelty.

After fatally injuring Andrew, Coombe called 999 and claimed the youngster had started “looking a bit stiff” and had suffered a seizure, the court heard.

However, hospital staff raised concerns that the injuries could not have been accidental.

The 24-year-old postman was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and then further arrested on suspicion of murder after Andrew’s death.

Scott Scombe
Scott Coombe pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Pic: Met Police
Tamika Beaton was convicted of child cruelty. Pic: Met Police

Photos of toddler’s injuries

A post-mortem examination found the child died from a head injury, while several other bruises were identified around his face and shoulder.

A pathologist concluded Coombe’s account of what happened was “implausible” given the level of injuries suffered by the toddler.

During the police investigation, detectives found pictures and messages documenting Andrew’s injuries on the phones of both Coombe and Beaton.

Police said it was clear from the phone evidence that Andrew’s injuries happened while he was in the sole care of Coombe, who had entered a relationship with Beaton in July 2018.

Beaton had cheated on Andrew’s father, Ben Cawker, with Coombe after she met him at a fitness class, the court heard.

Mr Cawker became “very concerned” when Beaton sent him a photo of injuries to Andrew’s ribs in April 2019, jurors were told.

However, Beaton suggested to her ex-partner that he could have caused the wounds while he was looking after their son.

She repeated the accusations during a police interview, despite knowing the injuries happened when Andrew was being looked after by Coombe alone.

Boy shaken ‘vigorously’

In messages to her mother, Beaton indicated she was aware that Andrew was being hurt in Coombe’s care but she chose not to take action and allowed the abuse to continue, the Met Police said.

Prosecutor Sally O’Neill KC told the court: “Not only did she do nothing to protect Andrew from being injured by Scott Coombe, she tried to cover up the injuries by blaming Ben Cawker, his father, for causing them.

“She was putting her own interests before those of Andrew – with the most catastrophic consequences for Andrew.”

The prosecutor said Coombe had admitted manslaughter on the basis that he “became irritated with (Andrew) and picked him up by grabbing his upper arms and, in a moment of anger and frustration, shook him vigorously backwards and forwards briefly and then threw him backwards”.

Photographs taken of Andrew before he died showed the toddler looking miserable, jurors were told.

The court heard that Andrew had been due to start nursery, but Beaton did not take him because of the questions staff might raise about his bruises.

Coombe, of Petts Wood, southeast London, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at a hearing at the Old Bailey in February.

Beaton, from Peckham, was found guilty of child cruelty following a trial at the same court in October.

‘Defenceless child suffered prolonged abuse’

Detective Sergeant Quinn Cutler, who led the police investigation, said Beaton’s “inaction most certainly played a part” in her son’s death.

“This is an utterly heart-breaking case where a defenceless child has sustained prolonged abuse at the hands of those who should have been caring for him, resulting in his death,” the senior officer said.

“Andrew should have been in the place where he felt safe; at home with his mother and her partner.

“However, over the course of a year, Andrew suffered regular assaults at the hands of Scott Coombe culminating in the attack on 9 July 2019 which proved to be fatal.

“His mother, Tamika Beaton, clearly suspected Coombe was responsible for these injuries but chose not to intervene or seek help. Indeed, when questioned by police she sought to place the blame on another man.

“While Beaton did not directly inflict injuries on her son, her inaction most certainly played a part in his death.”