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Man guilty of murdering son

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A MAN has today been found guilty of the murder of his two-year-old son.

Daniel Hardcastle killed Damion Russell in a brutal and sustained assault at their home in Central Drive, Blackpool in August last year.

Hardcastle claimed the youngster had injured himself after falling and hitting his head on a coffee table.

But a pathologist found the extensive injuries suffered by the little boy were inconsistent with that claim.

He determined Hardcastle had inflicted very severe injury to Damion by either forcefully shaking him and then banging his head against a solid object, such as a coffee table, or caused Damion’s head to come into contact with a solid object with such force that it caused Damion’s head to move backwards and forwards rapidly enough to cause the injuries to his neck and eyes.

Damion was taken to hospital following the assault, but his injuries were unsurvivable and he sadly died two days later.

Hardcastle (10/03/93) was found guilty of murder after a four-week trial at Preston Crown Court. The jury deliberated for just two hours before reaching a verdict. He will be sentenced later.

Daniel Hardcastle

The court heard that Damion had suffered horrendous injuries including a forceful adult human bite mark to his upper right thigh. He had also suffered fractured ribs and bruising across his body.

There was also a tear to the inside of his lip as if a drinking bottle had been forced into his mouth.

The jury were told Hardcastle, who had sole care of his son, had started drinking more in the days and weeks before the assault. He had isolated himself from his support network and the two nights immediately before he assaulted Damion and caused the injuries which killed him, he spent all night chatting to a woman he had met online.

Det Supt Al Davies, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “First and foremost my thoughts today are with Damion’s loved ones. Like any young child Damion had the right to be loved and cherished by the man who should have done everything he could to protect him. Instead, he found himself subjected to a horrifically violent and sustained assault which caused the injuries which sadly led to his death.

“Only Daniel Hardcastle can say exactly what happened on that fateful day or why he did what he did, but this was no childhood accident that ended in tragedy. The nature and extent of the fatal injuries, deliberately inflicted by Hardcastle were done with intent to cause at least really serious harm and were the direct cause of Damion’s tragic death.”