Boyfriend beats 23-month-old to death
Boyfriend attempted to cover up his crime by attempting to construct an alibi on Facebook after beating his 'little princess' to death.
Never ever let someone you don’t completely trust on taking care of your baby! Learn more about Stranger Danger for Kids!
Roxie Archer would have turned two by now if her mother’s boyfriend had not beaten her to death.
The 23-month-old girl succumbed to her injuries after being beaten by her mother’s boyfriend, Ben Raftery. He then attempted to cover up his tracks by constructing an alibi on Facebook.
Stranger Danger for Kids: Mother was celebrating her birthday
Roxie’s mother, Sophie Archer, had flown to New York to celebrate her 21st birthday, leaving her daughter to be looked after by her boyfriend.
“The trip was due to last five days. She had only been in New York for a matter of hours when she received news that Roxie was very ill in hospital. In fact she was being kept alive on a life support machine,” said Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting.
She then flew back to her home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester to be with her daughter.
Stranger Danger for Kids: Boyfriend attempted a cover up with Facebook
Roxie had been left in the sole care of Ben Raftery and was beaten to death within 24 hours of his care.
As an attempted cover up, he posted a photograph of Roxie on his Facebook page with the caption: “Aaah my little princess with a bang on the head at McDonald’s. Now she is saying naughty door. Loved today spending quality time with my little princess. Going to bath her and put her to bed, missing Sophie loads.”
But the day after Roxie’s death he was said to have changed the Facebook status to “Aaah my little process when she banged her head on the floor at McDonalds and said naughty floor.”
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Stranger Danger for Kids: Boyfriend said Roxie fell down the stairs
The Manchester Crown Court heard that Raftery dialled 999 in the early hours of March 10 last year to say that Roxie had fallen down the stairs.
Paramedics arrived at the home to find her lying on a bed in the upstairs bedroom.
“One of the paramedics thought it strange that she had been carried back up the stairs,” stated Miss Blackwell.
“Her breathing rate was slowing; she was very pale and had a blue tinge to her skin.”
It was reported that Raftery said that he had left the stair gate open by mistake.
Stranger Danger for Kids: Boyfriend only concern about his welfare
Prosecution said that his behaviour at the hospital ‘seemed somewhat strange’.
Miss Blackwell commented: “He seemed only to be concerned about his own welfare. He was heard to say ‘I’m scared, they are going to do me for this.’”
“He failed to apologise to what had apparently happened to Roxie in his care.”
Roxie did not survive the injuries Raftery inflicted on her. She died the next day in Tameside Hospital.
Injuries were non-accidental
A post-mortem examination concluded the injuries were non-accidental and they would have been inflicted while the defendant was looking after Roxie.
“The pathologist’s conclusion is that the only credible explanation for the head and brain injuries is that Roxie had been forcibly and repeatedly punched and also possibly slapped across the head,” Miss Blackwell concluded.
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“He taught her to call him daddy”
The prosecution said how Rafery had taught her to call him daddy. He soon began to refer to Roxie as ‘daddy’s little girl’.
But then he would also ‘engage in cruel behaviour towards her’ such as holding her upside down by her ankle to ‘toughen her up’.
It is hard to believe how Rafery can abuse a little girl who he treated as a daughter till she died.
Here are 5 tips parents should keep in mind when leaving their kids under another person’s care:
- Leave your child with someone you completely trust
- Set rules and a schedule for the babysitter to follow – that way you’re in the loop on what your kid is up to
- Make sure your child knows how to contact you or the authorities if something goes wrong
- Call to check up on your little one – make sure you talk to your child not just the babysitter
- Look out for signs that something is wrong – such as your kid acting weird or the babysitter not picking up her phone