A HEARTBROKEN family have shared a touching tribute to their “loving” boy who was suffocated by his dad 18 years ago.
Lewis Turner was left with permanent brain damage after his dad, Alan Bird, held a pillow over his head for minutes when he was two in September 2001.
Lewis at Jurassic Cove Warrington in August 2018Credit: West Yorks Police
Lewis with Natasha, the family’s Dachshund, in June 2019Credit: West Yorks Police
His biological dad, Alan Bird, was sentenced to eight yearsCredit: West Yorks Police
He suffered a myriad of conditions following the attack including cerebral palsy as a result of the attack in September 2001.
His speech, hearing and sight were impaired and he had to be fed through a tube.
Prosecutors said Lewis’ death in July 2019 was the final consequence of the deliberate attack.
Lewis’ adoptive family reflected on the years they spent with him and said they were grateful for their time together.
In a statement, they said: “Lewis is greatly missed by all of us. From the moment we adopted Lewis, we tried to provide him with as normal a life as possible, despite the severe injuries he had sustained.
“We are grateful that we were able to have so many fun and happy times with Lewis and make memories that we will always treasure.
“Lewis brought us so much joy, laughter and love whenever he was around. Lewis will always be with us.”
Alan Bird was given life today with a minimum of eight years before he can be considered for release.
Bird had previously been jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to assault occasioning grievous bodily harm with intent and child cruelty.
He served five years and four months in prison before being released on licence before he was found guilty of murder at a trial at Leeds Crown Court this month.
Lewis was found dead at the home where he lived with his adoptive parents in Tingley, Leeds, until he died of peritonitis, caused by an infection from his feeding tube.
Experts described his NHS care as faultless.
Prosecutor Richard Wright QC told Leeds crown court: “The death of Lewis Turner was not some freak infection that took the life of a healthy boy.
“It was instead the final consequence of a deliberate assault on Lewis by Alan Bird.”
Paramedics found Lewis covered in bruises and “deathly pale” when they were called to the property.
Lewis was rushed to hospital where a scan revealed he had suffered the devastating injuries as a result of his brain being starved of oxygen.
Bird later admitted to a social worker that he was responsible for causing the injuries.
Detective Inspector James Entwistle, of Leeds District CID, said: “This is an absolutely tragic case where a child has ultimately had their life taken away from them by their parent, who should have been there to care for and protect them.
“Lewis was initially left with severe disabilities after being seriously assaulted by Bird and died as a direct result of his actions, which were the violent culmination of a pattern of abuse and neglect of this little boy.
“Despite the care and support of his adoptive parents, Lewis’s quality of life was catastrophically reduced by the extensive disabilities caused to him by his father.
“Bird has rightly been convicted of murdering Lewis and the responsibility for his death rests solely with him.
“This was a complex and challenging investigation for my team given the passage of time involved, the expert medical evidence required, and detailed liaison with our colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service.
“We hope that our combined efforts to achieve justice for Lewis will provide some level of comfort and reassurance to those who cared for this child and young man who was so cruelly robbed of his life.”
Lewis on a visit to Beaulieu National Motor Museum in April 2019Credit: West Yorks Police
Alan Bird was given life with a minimum of eight years before he can be considered for releaseCredit: Glen Minikin
He had previously been jailed for eight years and served five before he was released on licenceCredit: Glen Minikin