Following his conviction for murder, the father of a violent baby boy was jailed for his crimes.

James Lawton, 28, murdered his one-month-old son Colby in May 2020 and has been given a life sentence with a minimum of 17 years in prison at Reading Crown Court today.

Colby’s mother Chantelle Stroud, 25, from Newbury was acquitted by majority verdict of causing cruelty to a child under the age of 16 years and causing/allowing the death of a person under the age of 16. 

Colby’s loud scream was captured by the jury. He had been beaten to death at his Newbury home, Berkshire, late-night by Lawton.

Lawton had previously broken Colby’s skull in another incident just days before his death.

Before he was born, the one-month old had broken 50 bones and suffered partial strangulation.

According to the court, there were 70 bruises on the boy. The final fatal shaking caused brain damage that resembled injuries from a car accident at 90 mph.

James Lawton, 27, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 years for murdering his son Colby

James Lawton (27 years old) was sentenced for the murder of his son Colby. He will spend life in prison with a term minimum 17 years.

Lawton was also found guilty by jury of murdering and inflicting grievous bodily injury with intent.

A majority verdict cleared him of cruelty to minors under 16 years old. 

As the verdict was read, Ms Stroud’s family and friends burst into relief and looked at Lawton after the announcement. 

Elouise Marsh QC, prosecutor, said to Mrs Justice Stacey it was possible that Lawton attacked Colby pre-meditated. This would have aggravated his sentencing.

Nicholas Syfrett (QC) defended Lawton and said that “every aspect” of this trial had shown that Lawton’s actions were not pre-meditated.

Lawton was sentenced by Ms Justice Stacey. She said, “Colby Lawton is an absolute poppet who was always in a rush to see the rest of the world.

It took him just three hours to give birth, and he was born two weeks early.

“At just three weeks, he recognized you and Chantelle as his parents.

‘In the final picture of him taken just four hours before his passing, he was looking up at his mom.

Officers were called by South Central Ambulance Service on May 9 2020 following reports that Colby was in cardiac arrest

South Central Ambulance Service called officers on May 9, 2020, following reports Colby had suffered a cardiac arrest.

He was dependent upon you for his care.

“But, Colby was 29 days old when you shaken him so violently that you caused an immediate cardiac arrest.

“He sustained brain injury and was declared deceased at 3.06am.

I accept the fact that Colby was not your intended victim, because you’re a spontaneous man. However, you were attempting to inflict serious bodily harm on him.

It was made in a moment of urgency. Colby fell and you were stunned that Ms. Stroud was awakened.

“After Colby’s birth, you made every effort to be a father and take turns doing the night feeds. It was difficult to quit smoking after 10 years of drinking.

“But, in the week that began May 4, you began to drink again. Your relationship went through a turbulent phase with arguments with your neighbours and each other.

Colby Lawton was shaken violently by his father and went into cardiac arrest on 9 May last year in Ashridge Court in Newbury, Berkshire (pictured)

Colby Lawton, who was violently shaken by his father, went into cardiac arrest at Ashridge Court in Newbury Berkshire on May 9, last year (pictured).

“When Ms. Stroud stood outside talking to friends, but you were in the house with Colby and you intended to cause him bodily injury,

Although you haven’t specified the cause, evidence indicates that the head was most likely to be impacted against a hard surface.

“Around the exact same time you squeezed and tore his leg. These serious injuries weren’t fatal, and Colby, being the strong little man he was, appeared normal as his body attempted to heal. This was just a temporary loss of temper.

You didn’t admit to what you were doing at the time. You did however go to Ms Stroud because you believed she would take care of him. Now you’re 28. You have had a few convictions for violence in the past, but not as severe. Accept that you suffer from anxiety and depression.

Your mental health was affected by lockdown. You tried controlling your anger by turning your anger toward inanimate objects. It was necessary to support each other and be a source for strength, but this did not work.

“Although I cannot believe what you did Colby’s death, you must have deep regret and unwritten remorse for it. Colby was killed by the severe injuries that you caused him in days prior, which would have been extremely painful.