THE FATHER of a one-month-old boy who suffered multiple injuries before his death has been found guilty of his murder following a shocking three-week trial. 

James Lawton, 28, of Boreham Field, Wiltshire, was convicted of the murder of Colby Lawton, who died in Newbury on May 9, 2020, after more than 12 hours of jury deliberations. 

The jury found Colby’s mother, Chantelle Stroud, 25, of Newtown Road, Newbury not guilty of allowing the death of a person under the age of 16. 

James Lawton was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Colby in a separate incident in the days before his death.

Lawton held his head in his hands upon hearing the guilty verdict and slammed the door behind him after leaving the dock to be sent down.

Stroud could be seen crying with her hands cupped over her mouth as the verdicts relating to the charges against her were read out. 

The pair were both cleared of one separate count each of cruelty towards a person under the age of 16. 


At the start of the trial, it was the prosecution’s case that James Lawton ‘violently’ shook Colby in the minutes or hours before his death. 

On the opening day, prosecutor Eloise Marshall said: “James Lawton and Chantelle Stroud had a volatile relationship. 

“When he was drunk he became violent and aggressive. 

“In the lead up to Colby’s death, he assaulted him on two occasions. 

“It’s possible he was violently shaken and his head was deliberately hit with something hard. 

“It would have been obvious to Lawton that such an assault would have been harmful to Colby. 

“The second assault took place moments before Colby’s death. We say there is no doubt he is responsible for the fatal death. 

“He picked him up and shook him violently causing fractures, bleeding and fatal brain damage. 

“James Lawton murdered Colby.”

What happened in the days before Colby’s death?

Colby Lawton was born April 10. 

Two weeks before Colby’s death, Stroud kicked Lawton out of her house after an argument, but they resolved the situation and he returned. 

Around a week later, Stroud told a neighbour she was concerned about some bruises she had found on Colby. 

The court heard how on another occasion, Lawton was heard saying he would throw Colby out of a window because he ‘wouldn’t stop screaming’. 

On May 8, Lawton made Stroud aware of a bump on Colby’s head. 

At 9.35pm, Stroud went to a local shop with a neighbour to buy alcohol. 

On her way back from the shop, Stroud heard a loud, high-pitched scream from her flat and told her neighbour “that’s Colby”. 

She claimed he had been making loud, high-pitched screaming noises a lot, but later in a police interview she said she had never heard him scream like that before.

The prosecution said that between this time and Stroud making a call to 999 at 1.49am stating Colby was not breathing, there was no other evidence pertaining to the defendants. 

Paramedics said he had blood coming from his nose, he was floppy and had no muscle tone. 

Stroud was upset and crying and was asked if he was going to die. 

Police asked Lawton what happened. He said he felt like he was being watched and judged. 

Colby Lawton was pronounced dead at 3.06 am on May 9, 2020.

What did a post-mortem reveal?

Dr Brett Lockyer carried out the post-mortem. 

The pathologist found 31 separate injuries to Colby’s head, including scratches, bruising and bleeding.

There was also bruising on the chest, marks on Colby’s left arm and shoulder, and nine separate bruises and marks. 

Eight minor bruises were found on his left leg, and 14 more on the baby’s right leg. 

The doctor gave estimated time frames of when Colby suffered his bone injuries and suggested they could have been inflicted between minutes and three days before his death. 

Ms Marshall, prosecuting, said: “We say Colby was shaken extensively and violently, causing bleeds on the brains, fractures and the other injuries. 

“We say this happened in the minutes and in the hour before Colby’s death.”

Skull fractures and leg fractures were inflicted between one and three days before Colby’s death, caused by blunt force trauma -- the prosecution said. 

Colby’s cause of death was traumatic head injury. 

The verdicts were reached after 12 hours and 19 minutes of deliberations and were revealed at Reading Crown Court on Friday, November 26.