Charlie Victor Rossi Hunt
August 7, 2008 - November 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial

Imagine in this day and age, a full grown man who knows right from wrong. He is a cruel, evil man who knows what he is doing is wrong, but doesn't care. This man decides to inflict horror on the 15 month of son of his girlfriend. This man decides it would be a good idea to use his cell phone to take video footage of what he does to helpless Angel. The man goes to court and is found guilty, the man gets sentenced to life, ONLY, does life MEAN life? Maybe not, the man receives life with the possibility of parole after 24 years. Charlie Hunt would be about 35 years old in 24 years, if he had NOT been killed by Darren Newton for no other reason than he could do what he wanted while the little boys mother went to work and Charlie could not defend himself or tell his mother what was going on.

Charlie's mother, Laura Chapman, met Darren in the early months of 2009 after a moved put her next door to where he lived, with his parents. Laura thought she had found the man who could make her happy. Darren seemed to be a caring, loving man, it was all an act. Months before Charlie died, Darren started abusing and hurting him while filming it on his phone. At one point, Charlie was taken to the doctor because he was having fits. The Doctor thought that Charlie was just clingy and sent him home. Laura should have kept going back or changed doctors. One visit is NOT enough to help a child who is obviously in distress.


Charlie seemed like a happy little boy unless he was being abused by Darren. In the videos, Charlie would be seen in a happy mood, talking or playing by himself and then Darren would walk up on him and for no reason, start the attack. One night he stuck his finger in charlie's ear and twisted it while Charlie cried and tried to push his hand away. Before this attack was over, Charlie would be kicked to the floor. One night after that happened, in November of 2009, there was a need for the ambulance and Darren said that Charlie became sick while he was baby sitting. After being transported to the hospital, Charlie died, an hour later even with the staff attempts to help him.

Darren was arrested and at the beginning of the trial, jurors were shown some of the video he had taken and given names such as "Crying, no toys in pen, ahh", "Squeezing toe in cot", "Two minutes of pain", "Shivering no water" and "Happy slap". Happy slap is the video taken believed to be the attack that killed Charlie. Darren slaps him 12 times on his head while he screams and cries as well as the incident where he pokes him in the ear. Charlie was forced to stay in a tub with no water while he shivered from the cold.

What is hard to believe is that when Charlie was examined by doctors, bruises were found on his body. How is it even possible that Laura NEVER saw bruises or never questioned them if she did? Charlie HAD to have exhibited some sign that he didn't like Darren or was afraid of him, I will never believe that he didn't. Why didn't Laura notice this and protect her child? Or, maybe she's like so many others who DID see it and ignored it. With the time she spent living with this monster and the six months that he was able to take video of what was being done, there is NO WAY she didn't know that something was wrong. NO WAY! 

The prosecutor, Dennis Watson QS stated to the jury that Darren took pleasure in being able to hurt and torture Charlie and that over the months the abuse got worse. It is interesting to note that Laura was being checked on by Social Services and she had two other children which she did NOT have custody of. Laura was arrested for the murder of Charlie until the police decided that she didn't know what was going on. How could they possibly believe she didn't know anything about it?

Doctors found bruising, swelling and bleeding to Charlie's brain and his eyes were also bleeding as well as areas of dead brain tissue and injuries that were thought to have been from back when Charlie was taken to the hospital and Laura was told that he was just clingy. At the time of his death, Charlie was almost blind due to optic nerve damage.

Some court testimony:

Dennis Watson, QC – You are filming him as you inflict pain on him

Darren Newton – I accept that yes

Watson – He tries to put his little hand up … what was going through your mind?

Newton – Again, no answer

Watson – Is it too difficult to admit you enjoyed doing what you were doing to him, which is why you did it again and again?

Newton – I did not enjoy doing it

Watson – A helpless baby in reality, wasn’t he? He could not speak, could not tell anyone, could not complain, could he?

Newton – No.

Watson – What were you trying to do (with the ‘Happy Slap’ video)?

Newton – I don’t know, I honestly don’t know.

Watson – Thirteen times, that vulnerable area. Why choose his head, 13 times?

Newton – I don’t know

Watson – Did you take pleasure from the fact that you were being cruel to him?

Newton – No.

Watson – You gave them titles so you could look at them?

Newton – I did not look at them over and over again.

In December of 2010, Darren Newton, who was 32 years old at the time, was found guilty and the ridiculous sentence of life with the possibility of parole after 24  years, was handed down by Justice Stephen Irwin who said:

"It was a series of repeated acts of cruelty for no obvious motive other than the wish to be
cruel. Anyone
who watches the clips of some of what you did and I'm convinced you
only recorded some of what you did,
will genuinely struggle to understand why you
came to do this"

The judge said that part of the wickedness that comes from Darren the way he presented himself as an individual who could be affectionate and loving with a sympathetic nature, while being able to do what he did to Charlie without being found out until the child died, when Charlie was unable to do anything to help himself. Judge Irwin ordered that the videos be saved so that the parole board could view them before considering parole in the future.

Laura and Charlie's father, Richard Hunt, both said that Darren was an evil monster and Laura said she hated him and hoped he rots in Hell. Laura said she was upset at having seen the videos and she and Richard left the court room when it became overwhelming to watch. Laura said it was hard to watch someone she loved and trusted, abuse her son. Well, Laura, think about how Charlie felt when he wasn't protected from that same man.

Laura says:

"A lot of people were asking did I know or surely I must have known, but no I didn't. If I'd
known, he would never have been left with Darren. Darren wouldn't have been walking"

After she was arrested Laura said:

"I was arrested and was horrified at first. But then I realized that the police had a job to do"

Laura said that Darren was bailed out and he seemed a little bit upset, but not quite like a person who should be grieving. They went back into the police station and she was told about the videos while she was sitting in a jail cell:

"I didn't believe it could be Darren at first. I actually had to watch them to believe it was him.
I hate him.
I hope he rots in Hell. I don't know why  he did it, it's been going through my head.
He always knew that
I would put Charlie first before anything else. That's the only thing that I
can think of. In Court, he said that
Charlie was my whole world. I was quite surprised he told
the truth to be honest, but he's right. He was
my everything. Charlie was an Angel. He was
always very happy, he loved to play and he was a good
eater and a good sleeper. Any mother
would love to been the mother of that little boy"

On the day before he died, Laura had played with Charlie before leaving him with the baby sitter. Darren would take over the baby sitting when the sitter left:

"Darren was a bit nervous when he first started to look after him. Obviously he'd had
experience with his
nephew and nieces, but he'd never been in a position when had
looked after a baby that young. When I first
left Charlie with Darren, it was short periods
at first, to make sure that Charlie was okay with him, the he
was happen with him being
around. In court he said he resented looking after him, but I asked him every
single time.
I want Darren to go down for a long time for what he has done. I want  him to get locked up
life. There were times I felt like I was on trial but I knew it was going to be difficult, I
knew it had to be done.
He is evil and twisted for he did to charlie and for putting
everyone through this"

"Newton is just an evil individual and he deserves what he gets. Like Laura said, I hope he
gets locked
away for a long time. I didn't know anything was going on, if I did I would have
stopped it, I would have
done something about it. When I heard about the videos I felt
numb thinking what a sick animal would
do something like that. I just can't get my
head around it, why somebody would do that. Why somebody
like him would do this to
a 15 month old boy who can't protect himself. I had to walk out of court. I
handle hearing my boy crying like that. He was crying for help and there was no one
 there to
help him"
Richard Hunt

Richard said that didn't think he was ever going to get over the death of his son:

"He was a cheeky little monkey, always laughing with a cheeky smile. That's how I want to
remember him"

Darren complained, to a pen pal, from prison that he was innocent even though before the trial he had admitted to what he had done. To his pen pal he wrote that he never laid a finger on a child. I guess he forgets that he actually made video of what he was doing.  Darren had the nerve to say that he wants justice for Charlie, saying that the guilty verdict against him was not justice and he said that he had a chance of getting his convictions overturned, though no formal appeal has ever been filed.

In January of 2011, some of the agencies who should have been more closely involved in the case of Charlie, admitted that though they could not have predicted what would happen to him, they need to learn lessons and make changes in their system. Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board admitted to gaps in communication between employees and they said there was a failure to recognize the potential for harm to Charlie, who they referred to as "Child AB":

"Whilst it was not possible to predict that Child AB would have been harmed in the
manner it is
alleged he was, there are significant and very familiar lessons that need to be
learned about how
professionals and agencies can work collaboratively to
safeguard children"

In the report it was noted that Laura had a history of choosing relationships where she was the victim of domestic abuse and that two of her children who had lived  with her former partner, not Charlie's father, were taken from her after he had hurt one of them. The agency admitted that there was enough information available from the GP who had seen Charlie, to call it abuse and that it had missed the opportunity to protect him. They call this a missed opportunity? That is heart- shattering to me. This was NOT a missed opportunity, this was a HUGE injustice that cost Charlie his life. After what happens to hundreds of children all over the world, EVERY instance of abuse should be considered and EVERY child should deserve to be protected from their abusers. Err on the side of the child and see how many lives will be saved.

The boards have developed actions plans to implement new recommendations, more than 80 to be exact. I have to wonder, what happened after Peter Connelly, BABY P, who was abused to death and there were changes going to be made? It seems to me that when things are fresh in the minds of the public, promises of change come at a fast pace. When things are not so fresh, the changes may be put into place, they are never used or someone just doesn't care. I hate to think that some people don't care about their job of protecting children, but that is what I am thinking more and more about the agencies and the people in their lives who are supposed to protect them.

Death occurred in England

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