‘Tyler was my rock’ says mum

Tyler Whelan
Tyler Whelan

The mum of a Wigan boy who died after being punched, kicked and bitten told police she had never seen her partner be violent towards children, a court heard.

Five-year-old Tyler Whelan died in March last year after collapsing at his home in Sheepwalk, Paston, near Peterborough. It followed three earlier admissions to hospital which had prompted doctors to contact social services.

Stephanie Whelan, denies causing or allowing her son’s death while ex-partner Elvis Lee has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.

Cambridge Crown Court was told that Tyler, who used to live with his mum in Beech Hill, died from head and stomach injuries after being beaten on the morning of his death.

In a statement read to jurors, Whelan said Lee had seemed “normal” that day. When told Lee may be responsible for the death, she said: “If he’s the one that hurt my baby, I want him dead. My little boy didn’t deserve it. He was so special, he was my rock.

“All week Elvis has been comforting me over my loss. How can he comfort me if he did it? I fell in love with this man and we were the only ones in the house with Tyler.

“He was always so nice to the kids. Why would he hurt my baby?”

When informed her son had been bitten on his left leg the day before he died, Whelan told police she would have never have let Lee into the house if she had known he would hurt a child.

Asked how she thought Tyler had died, she added: “My presumption is that he fell off the side of the breakfast bar. It was just a horrible accident.” The court heard that she had a “love/hate relationship” with Lee and knew he was on an anger management course.

He had hit her in the past but she had never seen him hit a child, she told officers.

Prosecutor Christopher Donnellan has told the court that the boy had suffered “non-accidental” injuries including a broken leg and injuries to his private parts in the year leading up to his death.

Mr Donnellan has told jurors Tyler suffered the injuries early in the morning but was not taken to Peterborough City Hospital until 11.45am.

Lee, 34, of Crabtree, Paston, Peterborough, and Whelan, 27, of Sheepwalk, Paston, both deny three further counts of cruelty, relating to their alleged failure to quickly seek medical treatment for earlier injuries.