A sports psychologist who bludgeoned his mother to death before transferring money from her bank account to fund his ‘sham lifestyle’ has been jailed for life.
Robert Child, 37, struck his 64-year-old mother Janice with a hammer 31 times in a ‘merciless attack’ at her home in Woolton, Liverpool, on March 5.
He left her body locked in her house and just minutes later, he used her mobile phone to transfer £25,000 of her savings into his bank account.
He then caught a bus where he was seen on CCTV ‘smiling and laughing’ with the driver, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
Robert Child, 37, struck his 64-year-old mother Janice with a hammer 31 times in a ‘merciless attack’ at her home (above) in Woolton, Liverpool, on March 5
Child, a former conjurer who had ‘some status in the Magic Circle’, used his mother’s mobile phone to transfer £25,000 of her savings into his bank account minutes after the killing
When police arrived at his home in Thingwall on the Wirral the following morning to inform him of her death, he was out buying a Jaguar car.
Child, described by the sentencing judge as a ‘selfish narcissist’, feigned shock and surprise to detectives and lied about his whereabouts.
Child also made phone calls to and from his mother’s phone to keep up the pretence he was unaware of her death.
The previously court heard Child had looked at buying the £14,000 car in February but was unable to provide the deposit.
The defendant later admitted to murdering his mother, who was found in a bloodstained utility room under the stairs of her home.
But Child, a former conjurer who had ‘some status in the Magic Circle’, denied that the murder was for financial gain and claimed she had provoked him into a ‘sudden rage’.
Giving evidence at a trial of issue last week, the defendant admitted he had been ‘living a lie’ and had falsely described himself as a doctor to friends and family – but had never completed a PhD.
He claimed to work for Manchester United as a scout and told people he had suffered a bleed on the brain.
The court heard Child had credit card and loan defaults amounting to £30,000, as well as county court judgments totalling £16,000 against him, but was living ‘far far beyond his means’.
Child was sentenced to a minimum of 29 and a half years in jail at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday for the ‘merciless attack’
With no income from an unpaid research post at the University of Liverpool, he still went on trips to London, Barcelona and Disneyland Paris in the months before March 5 when he had just £1.01 in his bank account.
Child had planned a wedding to his partner Kelly Williams, despite still being married to his wife Sangee Perera.
He claimed he went to see his mother on March 5 for the last time to say he was driving to Italy to kill himself but that they began to argue.
He told the court Mrs Child, who was said to have ‘idolised’ her only child, revealed she had been using multiple Twitter accounts to troll Ms Perera.
No evidence of any Twitter accounts was found when police analysed his mother’s laptop.
Judge Dennis Watson QC rejected Child’s explanation as a ‘spiteful attack’ on her credibility and a ‘grotesque distortion of the truth’ as he ruled she did or said nothing to goad him.
Mrs Child lived alone with her beloved dachshund Alfie as her husband Stanley, who has since died, was living in a care home with dementia.
In a defence statement, Child said his relationship with his mother had ‘never been loving, cordial or friendly’ and she was a ‘strict disciplinarian’ who found fault with everything he did.
But WhatsApp messages between the pair from the weeks leading up to – and the morning of – the killing painted a different picture, showing Mrs Child was ‘loving and protective’, the court said.
Child said his relationship with his mother had ‘never been loving, cordial or friendly’ but Whatsapp messages had suggested otherwise. Pictured: the scene on March 5
In a victim personal statement read to the court, Mrs Child’s cousin George Moffatt said: ‘The family were aware the defendant was idolised by his mother. We just cannot understand what circumstances would lead a much-loved son to kill his mother.’
Sentencing him on Tuesday to a minimum term of 29 and a half years, less time spent in custody, the judge told him: ‘You murdered her because you realised there was no other way to obtain her money and without her money your sham lifestyle would be exposed and would collapse.
‘You used chilling and ruthless violence in subjecting savage wounds to your defenceless mother.
‘This was a merciless attack.’
A Proceeds of Crime Act Hearing is due to take place on February 23, 2021.
Following sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Rhodes, of Merseyside Police, said: ‘Ever since committing the offence he has gone to great lengths to try to lie and cheat his way out of the consequences of his actions, in the same way as he has lied his way through life.
‘We’re pleased that the courts have not accepted any of these accounts, and today he starts a significant prison sentence.’