Ryan Hawkins (4) was stabbed to death by his father, Christopher Hawkins (47). The fatal stabbing of Ryan, and attempted murder of his elder sister, Donna (14), was committed on the 17th wedding anniversary of his marriage to estranged-wife, Valerie Gee. Ms Gee had left the marriage in May of 2007. The revenge attack was pre-meditated, planned to occur on Ryan’s birthday. Hawkins was sentenced to 21 years.
The BBC (05 Mar 2008 )
Father jailed for murdering son
A man who murdered his four-year-old son and tried to kill his teenage daughter has been jailed for life and told he must serve 21 years.
Christopher Hawkins, 47, of Royd Street, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, stabbed son Ryan to death last September, Leeds Crown Court heard.
He was also convicted of attempting to murder his daughter Donna, 14.
Mr Justice Wilkie said Hawkins had killed Ryan as “a cold-hearted vehicle to avenge his wife’s affair”.
The judge told Hawkins: “A more horrific crime it is hard to imagine than savagely and repeatedly to stab your young son who, in his agony, had to try to fend off blows from one of the people he was most entitled to expect love and affection.
“Although to this court, and after the event, you profess great love for Ryan and mourned his passing, in my judgment… these were crocodile tears.”
‘I love you’
Hawkins’s wife, Valerie Gee, said he “deserved everything he got” for murdering Ryan.
“No amount of time in prison will ever equal the pain and suffering we have got to go through every day without Ryan in our lives,” she said.
“He [Ryan] was a lively and loving child who would always be giving us hugs and kisses.
“I remember the last time I spoke to him I said ‘I love you’, and that’s what I will always remember.”
Judge Wilkie said he did not accept that Hawkins killed Ryan in a spontaneous attack.
“I’m satisfied that you used him [Ryan] cold-heartedly as a vehicle for avenging yourself on your wife.”
Hawkins and his wife had separated in May 2007.
The sheet metal worker later discovered that she had started an affair with taxi driver Lee Tinker, while they were still living together.
The day before the fatal attack would have been his and Miss Gee’s 17th wedding anniversary.
But the judge went on to praise Donna, 14, who had suffered serious multiple wounds in the attack.
He said the teenager’s court appearance was in “stark contrast” to the performance of Hawkins, who he (the judge) accused of not having the “moral courage” to face up to what he did, instead blaming “something evil” inside him.
Donna suffered injuries to her face, chest, abdomen, arm and thigh. Two of the wounds had penetrated her liver and lung.
Hawkins had also “cut a chunk” out of his daughter’s right arm.
Judge Wilkie said: “I’m satisfied, but for the speed and skill of the doctors at the hospital, you would have faced two murder charges.”
The Guardian (06 mar 2008 )
Life for father who killed son as revenge on unfaithful wife
By Martin Wainwright
A father who murdered his four-year-old son in revenge for his wife’s affair was jailed for life yesterday after a jury refused to believe his claims of a fit of madness and voices in his head.
Christopher Hawkins called out “I love you, Donna” to his 14-year-old daughter, who survived multiple stab wounds in the same attack and managed to alert neighbours before collapsing in the street.
He was accused of faking grief over the tragedy in September at Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, where he went for a beer at his local pub after the killing and told staff and customers what he had done.
Mr Justice Wilkie, setting a minimum 21-year term at Leeds crown court, told him: “You have not had the moral courage to face up to what you did, blaming instead something evil inside you.
“I am satisfied that you used your son cold-heartedly as a vehicle for avenging yourself on your wife. Although to this court, and after the event, you professed great love for Ryan and mourned his passing, in my judgment, having seen you give evidence and had the opportunity to assess your genuineness, these were crocodile tears.”
The court heard that Hawkins, 47, had stabbed Ryan with a carving knife nine times, twice penetrating his heart. The attack in the sheet metalworker’s terrace house, took place the day after the 17th anniversary of his marriage to Valerie Gee, who left him last May after telling him that she no longer loved him.
Hawkins was furious to discover soon afterwards that she had started an affair months earlier with a taxi driver, Lee Tinker, at a minicab firm owned by her uncle, where she worked on the callout desk.
The court heard that he had plotted revenge, scribbling a note that he would kill Ryan and himself on the child’s fourth birthday in September.
Instead, Hawkins first attacked Donna while her 16-year-old sister, Natalie, was out of the house and then told her that he was going to kill her brother.
“I am satisfied that but for the speed and skill of the doctors at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, you would have faced two murder charges,” the judge told Hawkins. He praised Donna for the calm way she gave evidence in the eight-day trial, in contrast to her father’s lies and evasions.
As he was escorted from the dock, Hawkins turned to face Donna and Natalie in the public gallery and said: “I love you, Donna, I love you, Natalie.” The children’s mother said in a victim statement to the court that Donna would never get over the psychological scars of the attack.