Deraye Lewis
January 1, 2001 - January 1, 2005


Witnesses to the abuse that Deraye Lewis suffered at the hands of Nicholas Halling said that the child was afraid of this man who seemed to hate him. When questioned about the way he spoke to Deraye, calling him racial slurs, Nicholas said he was trying to toughen him up. This is not the first case of an abuse death where the abuser has said that he was trying to toughen up a child. I am wondering, why does a three year old child need to be toughened up? What kind of warped mind believes that if you physically and verbally abuse a child, it makes them tougher and why would a mother ALLOW this to happen to her child?

Donna Humphrey's home was a horror chamber for her three year old son and herself. Donna took beatings from Nicholas according to witnesses:

"He had a very intimidating relationship with Donna "I cannot say I actually
saw him hit her, but it was unusual not to see her with a black eye or bruises.
He would speak to Deraye in a hostile manner, he was very angry towards
the child. The first thing I ever heard him say was to call him a n****r and black
b*****d. I challenged him about that. He excused it by saying he was
toughening him up for the future. Deraye was always scared when Nick was in
the room. I saw a child who was too scared to talk, too scared to move. I did
not take much for nick to lose him temper"
Mark Thomas

Mark spoke of having been in the home on New Years Eve in the year 2004. Deraye was sick and had apparently thrown up and while didn't see what happened, he heard Nicholas screaming and asking Deraye why he didn't use the bucket and then calling him a b***k b*****d, he then heard a thud and there was no more noise. Another friend visited that same day and told about what he saw:

"I saw Deraye and he looked very very sick. Donna knelt on the floor and held
him. Nick shouted and they parted so fast in total fear. They
all went upstairs
but I could hear nick shouting, he was saying: This
n****r baby is spoiling my
life. I heard a clump like someone falling out
of bed. I heard that twice. Donna
came downstairs, she was like a
ghost in a trance. I kept asking her what
happened, but she could not
talk. Then Nick came and hit her with a standard
lamp across the head.
He swiped everything off the mantelpiece and things
smashed all over.
Then he went to puck the TV and I ran for help. Donna was
out in the
street with me. Nick came out and was screaming: Take your bags
and your n****r baby with you. He was trying to hit her"

Jackie Collier

Donna ended up going back into the house that day. Deraye was taken to the hospital the next and he was already dead. Autopsy showed that a serious blow to his stomach had caused his intestine to slip and hemorrhage sending poison into his system. It was said by Pathologists that it was probably caused by a heavy fisted punch to the stomach, a kick to the stomach or from having been stomped on. Deraye suffered 73 injuries at the hands of Nicholas that day and in the days before including cigarette burns.

Luton Mental Health Partnerships was very familiar with Nicholas Halling and in fact he had been in their "care" for 12 years. Nicholas had been diagnosed with personality disorder and he was a substance abuser. A report after the death of Deraye said that LMHP had not handled the case of Nicholas properly and there was a lack of consistent psychiatric care and the trust had poor quality risk assessment as well as poor compliance with risk assessment policies.

In April of 2006, Nicholas Halling, who was 36 years old at the time, was found guilty of murder in the case of Deraye and of causing bodily harm to Donna. For the murder of Deraye, Nicholas was sentenced to life in prison without parole for 20 years. For the bodily harm charge Nicholas was sentenced to 18 months that would run concurrently with the murder charge sentence. Mr. Justice Hughes told Nicholas that he had treated Deraye with contempt, hostility and violence:

"You were intolerant, abusive, domineering and you hit him many times, if not
habitually, on the head. You call him names that were very offensive and racially
charged. You are and you have been for a long time, a violent bully"

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

At the time of the killing of Deraye, Nicholas was under the supervision of the a Probation Officer and it was reported that he had many convictions that dated all the way back to when he was 11 years old.

Reports after his death said that Social Workers knew that Deraye was being abused at least six months prior to his death. Donna was said to have covered up for Nicholas and they believed the woman who stood in front of them black anc blue from the beatings he had given her. Donna did leave Nicholas at one point and moved to Milton Keynes. Bedfordshire Social Services did not pass on information about the abuse they knew about to Milton Keynes Social Services even though they had been the ones to state on her emergency housing application that she was running from domestic violence.

Since no one had bothered to inform Social Services about the risk in the family, Donna was able to restart her relationship with Nicholas and no one knew to try to stop her. Donna was 21 year old when she rekindled her relationship with this man. To me, Donna is partly to blame because she was away from him, she and Deraye were safe and no longer had to worry about being beaten. A woman the age of 21 years old knows when she is being beaten and when her child is in danger, Donna should NEVER have allowed Nicholas back into her life.

The pattern of violence continued in the home and this time it ws worse and lead up the violence that took the life of Deraye on New Years Eve 2004. Donna ended up calling the Police that night and said she and Deraye had been assaulted by Nicholas. Police noticed that Deraye had been crying, but she showed no signs of having been injured. Donna withdrew her complaint and having no knowledge of any previous assaults, the Police left without taking any action at all.

Nicholas had shouted at Donna saying that they were unable to do anything because Deraye always spoiled things for them. Donna woke up later and found that Deraye had died while lying in bed beside her.

Note: Some reports say that Deraye died on December 31, 2004 and others say he died on his birthday, January 1, 2005. One report says that he died January 12, 2005. The most often printed date is January 1, 2005 with the fatal abuse having taken place December 31, 2004 and Deraye dying in the morning hours.

This page was created on January 16, 2015

Death occurred in England

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