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Chef jailed for life for murdering stepdaughter, 1, in ‘savage’ attack

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A ‘callous coward’ who murdered his one-year-old stepdaughter in a ‘savage’ attack has been told he must serve at least 19 years in prison.

Chef Martin Johnson, 20, left Erin Tomkins with multiple injuries when he was supposed to look after her at her home in Sheffield, a court heard.

A judge at Sheffield Crown Court said these injuries could have been caused by shaking, as he described how Johnson also injured Erin, who was a few weeks short of her second birthday, on other occasions.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file photo issued by South Yorkshire Police of Erin Emilia Rain Tomkins as Chef Martin Johnson has been found guilty of murdering his one-year-old stepdaughter. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 8, 2019. Martin Johnson, 20, told police he had been playing with Erin Tomkins at her home when she suddenly collapsed in front of him. See PA story COURTS Toddler. Photo credit should read: South Yorkshire Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Erin Emilia Rain Tomkins was killed by her stepfather (Picture: PA)

The youngster suffered a broken arm at one point and 10 fractures to her spine, all caused by her stepfather.

?? Licensed to London News Pictures. 08/02/2019. Cheam, UK. Police guard a crime scene on the London Road in North Cheam, on the south-west London and Surrey border, where a woman in her 30's has been stabbed. Roads in the surrounding area are currently closed and emergency services are on scene. Photo credit: Peter Macdiarmid/LNPTwo arrested after woman was stabbed to death in broad daylight in Surrey

The judge, Mr Justice Goss, sentenced Johnson to life in prison with a minimum tariff of 19 years as he remarked that the defendant had shown no remorse.

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Johnson was sentenced after he was found guilty of murder and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent by a jury which deliberated for under two hours on Friday.

He told police Erin had collapsed in front of him as they played but prosecutors told the jury of four men and eight women how medical experts found multiple injuries.

The jury heard how Erin was taken to hospital on Monday 21 May, 2018, after Johnson phoned 999 from his partner Kira Tomkins’s home in Leighton Road.

South Yorkshire Police
Martin Johnson has been jailed for life with a minimum of 19 years (Picture: South Yorkshire Police)

Staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital found bruises on her face and body as well as bruising and bleeding to the surface of her brain, which was also swollen, and bleeding to both eyes.

In an impact statement read to the court, Erin’s mother, Ms Tomkins said: ‘I simply do not understand who somebody could hurt a baby in this way.’

She said she had been turned in to a ‘walking zombie’ by her daughter’s death.

Speaking outside court, Miss Tomkins said: ‘Erin was the most beautiful bright and funny little red-headed girl.

‘She added so much to our lives and she will be loved and missed every day.’

Kira Tomkins speaking to reporters outside Sheffield Crown Court after chef Martin Johnson was found guilty of murdering her daughter, Erin Emilia Rain Tomkins. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 8, 2019. See PA story COURTS Toddler. Photo credit should read: Dave Higgens/PA Wire
Kira Tomkins she had been turned in to a ‘walking zombie’ by her daughter’s death (Picture: PA)

Speaking outside court, DCI Steve Whittaker said the murder was one of the worst crimes he had dealt with in his 32-year long career.

A taxi driver has lost his licence after he refused to pick up a blind man and his guide dog. Private hire driver Mohammed Saghir, of Sneinton Boulevard, in Nottinghamshire, arrived at a pub near Trent Bridge to take Mark Whittle and his wife, Catherine, home. The 59-year-old arrived outside the pub, which the couple had gone to after taking part in the Great Notts Bike Ride on June 24, 2018, and sent a text to tell them he was waiting. However, when Mr and Mrs Whittle emerged from the pub alongside Archer, their guide dog, he drove off. He pleaded guilty to failing to pick up a customer and accept a fare at Derby Justice Centre in December, and he lost his licence after a review was conducted by Nottingham City Council. CAPTION: Mark Whittle, his wife Catherine and his dog ArcherTaxi driver loses his licence after refusing to pick up blind man and his dog

Mr Whittaker said: ‘This is a man, Martin Johnson, who has shown absolutely no remorse whatsoever and has been in total denial.’

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The detective said: ‘Martin Johnson has been a cold, calculating liar. This man is a bully, an awful man, who’s tried throughout the trial to blame the mother of the child for these terrible, terrible injuries.

‘For me, he’s a callous coward that really deserves every day of those 19 years in prison.’

Mr Whittaker said: ‘This is man who came into this girl’s life and five months later she was dead. He moved into the house and three months later she was dead.

South Yorkshire Police's Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker outside Sheffield Crown Court after chef Martin Johnson was found guilty of murdering his one-year-old stepdaughter, Erin Emilia Rain Tomkins. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 8, 2019. Johnson, 20, told police he had been playing with Erin at her home when she suddenly collapsed in front of him. See PA story COURTS Toddler. Photo credit should read: South Yorkshire Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
South Yorkshire Police’s DCI Steve Whittaker said it was one of the worst rimes he had dealt with in his 32-year long career (Picture: PA)

‘This is man who took it on himself to break a little girl’s arm and when they presented at the hospital said she’d fallen off the sofa.

‘This is man who at some stage caused a girl to have four back fractures.

‘This is a man responsible for 27 bruises on that little girl and then went on to kill that little girl.’

He said: ‘This is a man who’s been quite abhorrent throughout and he’s got what he deserves in the end.’

The officer said: ‘With some work through eminent pathologists and neurosurgeons, we could prove that this child became immediately unwell after this savage, and it was savage, attack.’

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