April 2006

Man jailed for murdering toddler

An unemployed man who murdered his girlfriend’s three-year-old son has been jailed for life.

Nicholas Halling, 36, of Dunstable, Beds, was convicted by a jury at Luton Crown Court of killing Deraye Lewis and assaulting the boy’s mother.

Mr Justice Hughes said Halling had treated the boy, who was mixed race, “habitually with contempt” and called him “racially charged names”.

He said Halling should serve a minimum of 20 years in prison.

The court heard Deraye, who lived in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, with his mother Donna Humphrey, sustained fatal injuries on New Year’s Eve 2004.

‘Considerable violence’

He was taken to Milton Keynes Hospital where experts found a serious injury to an internal organ and 73 separate marks of injury on his body.

Deraye died in hospital on New Year’s Day.

Prosecutor Timothy Raggatt QC said Halling had a “wholly inappropriate racial animosity towards the little boy”.

“He was a child who was the subject of considerable violence, sustained at times, and over a period of time,” he added.

“Donna was a woman who became dominated by him and did as she was bidden.”

In court on Thursday, Halling also received a concurrent 18 month sentence for causing actual bodily harm.

Halling was under the supervision of a probation officer at the time and had convictions dating back to when he was aged 11.

3-year-old Deraye Lewis

Deraye Lewis lived in Dunstable, Milton Keynes with his mother, Donna Humphrey, and her boyfriend, Nicholas Halling. Deraye was a handsome young boy of 3 when he died a slow and painful death at the hands of racist Halling.

He was racially abused, repeatedly beaten and burnt with cigarettes. On the eve

of new year 2005 Donna Humprey, who was also black, called the police over an assault allegation against Halling (which she later withdrew). 

The police noticed on arrival that Deraye had been crying but could see no
obvious injuries so they left unaware of the previous history of Deraye, Donna and Hallings.

Deraye spent the rest of the day complaining of stomach ache and being sick and neighbours heard Halling shout: “That f****** baby is spoiling my life! We can’t do anything without him spoiling things!” Hours later, on New Year’s Day morning 2005, Donna woke up to find  Deraye dying in bed beside her.

Deraye was taken to Milton Keynes hospital where he died later that day.
More than 73 injuries were found on his tiny body. His bowel had been ruptured, his eardrum perforated, the surface of his brain bruised and his skin burned with cigarettes.

On the day of his death, he had suffered a blow to his abdomen that split his duodenum, poisoning his blood system. The court was also told that Halling had referred to the little boy as ‘Black ba***rd’ and wrote ‘n**ger’ on him in felt pen. Deraye was even forced to repeat these words.

Social workers in Bedfordshire were tipped off that Halling was abusing Deraye some six months before he was brutally murdered.

Mistake number one came when they, social services, failed to pick up the signs of Halling’s racist attacks, which included stubbing out cigarettes on the little Deraye’s body and calling him racist names. Instead they believed the cover-up stories from terrified mum Donna, even when, according to sources, she presented herself “black and blue” with bruises from Halling’s attacks on her. Three months before Deraye’s death, Donna finally admitted Halling was beating her and fled to safety in Milton Keynes.

Mistake number two came when Bedfordshire social services omitted to pass the information on to Milton Keynes social services, though they stated clearly on her emergency housing application that she was ‘fleeing domestic violence’. 

This led to mistake number three – when Milton Keynes housing department failed to inform their own colleagues in social services that they had moved a vulnerable mum and child into a house in Bletchley’s Osborne Street. Thus when Deraye’s mother Donna rekindled the relationship with Halling, not one official noticed.

It should also be noted that Halling was under the supervision of a probation officer at the time and had convictions dating back to when he was aged 11. 

In April 2006, Halling was jailed for life with a recommendation that he serve at least twenty years.