Stepmother Who Killed and Filmed 3-Year-Old Stepson Jailed for 15 Years

Leila Borrington, 23, killed Harvey Borrington by slapping him “multiple times,” a court ruled.

A British woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday after being convicted of killing her stepson, 3, by slapping him "multiple times" around the head in 2021. Leila Borrington, 23, was found guilty of manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm, and assault in the death of Harvey Borrington, after which she shot video of his apparently lifeless body on her phone. She was acquitted of murder and two other assault charges. Leila Borrington lied about what happened to Harvey when she was charged. Here's what you need to know about this shocking crime.

Who Is Leila Borrington?

Nottinghamshire Police

Leila Borrington was married to Harvey Borrington's father, Jonathan Borrington, 31. They lived in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, in the United Kingdom. Leila Borrington cared for Harvey most weekends. She was accused of attacking Harvey in the four months before his death. The earlier attacks left Harvey with a broken arm and marks on his face, the court found. Jonathan Borrington was at the movies at the time of Harvey's death. He has not commented to the media about the boy's death.

Who Was Harvey Borrington?

Nottinghamshire Police

Harvey Borrington had severe non-verbal autism and communicated with hand gestures and a few words. Prosecutors alleged Leila Borrington had it out for Harvey as a result. At Leila Borrington's court sentencing, Harvey's mother, Katie Holroyd, paid tribute to her son, calling him "the most loving little boy anyone could have wished for." "Harvey's life was cruelly ended when he was only 3 years old," she said. "To this day I cannot bear to think of him lying on the floor dying with her filming him and delaying getting medical help."

What Happened

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Harvey died in August 2021 after being left in Leila Borrington's care. As Harvey lay on the floor, Leila Borrington took her phone and shot video of the boy, sent it to her husband, and texted, "Why does this happen to me?" Only after shooting the video did Leila Barrington call paramedics, who took the boy to the hospital, where he died on Aug. 9 of what officials determined were unsurvivable injuries, including a skull fracture.

Officials ruled that Leila Borrington caused the boy's death. "During the trial we saw video footage of Harvey playing with his toys and placing items into the dishwasher," the judge in the case told Borrington at her sentencing. "Within less than 30 minutes, further video footage showed Harvey unconscious on the living room floor. Precisely what happened to Harvey, only you know."

Leila Borrington's Lies

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Leila Borrington lied about Harvey's death, saying he "fell backwards" off a sofa. Prosecutors showed the video footage she shot at her trial. In it, Leila Borrington can be seen taking Harvey's arm, lifting it up and letting it drop loosely to the floor. Prosecutor Jonas Hankin called Borrington's behavior unusual and evidence of an absence of compassion. "The lifting and dropping of his arm in that way appears to show indifference to the obvious severity of his condition," he told the court.

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What Happens Now

Judge with a gavel
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Leila Borrington was sentenced to 15 years in prison after the verdict in Nottingham Crown Court. "You were 21 when the first offense was committed and 22 when you assaulted and killed Harvey," the judge said during sentencing. He said the cause of death "must have been a sustained violent assault." Leila Borrington's video, text messages and immediate response after Harvey fell unconscious revealed a "shocking lack of care and concern," the judge added.

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