‘My kind heart cost me my little boy’s life’

Riley Turner. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Riley Turner. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

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RILEY Turner was an extremely happy, healthy, active and popular little boy who was very close to his twin brother, Mackenzie.

Their mother, Sharon Smith, described yesterday in heartbreaking detail how Riley’s murder destroyed her family and left her tormented with feelings of guilt for allowing his killer into the family home.

Anwar Rosser

Anwar Rosser

“I feel so much guilt,” she told the court in a statement. “My kind heart cost me my son’s life. The guilt eats me away every day. What he has done is unforgivable, he’s ruined our lives.”

She recalled the night she allowed her son’s killer, neighbour Anwar Daniel Rosser, to sleep on the sofa.

“I wish I had told that monster ‘no’ that night when he asked if he could sleep. He said people were outside his house and were going to beat him up and I believed him. I didn’t want him to get beaten up, but all along he had a knife in his pocket, plotting to hurt one of us, or all of us.

“I feel so much guilt that my poor son had to go through such horrific things because my kind heart didn’t want to let that monster get beaten up.”

Miss Smith recalled that Riley and Mackenzie were inseparable and she found it difficult to answer Mackenzie’s questions about his twin.

“I try every day to keep my other sons happy and help Mackenzie and what he had to go through every day. He never spent a minute away from his twin brother. They did everything together. If Riley got a packet of crisps he would get the same; now Mackenzie has to choose everything himself.

“He always cries and says he’s got no one to play with. It’s very upsetting to hear my boy cry for his brother all the time and wonder where he’s gone and why he isn’t coming back. Some questions I can’t answer to my boy. I try my best but I don’t understand myself and I never will.”

The court heard that Anwar Rosser had a troubled, violent past made worse by heavy drinking.

Born to an English mother and Asian father, it appears that, as a baby, he was the victim of physical abuse. Aged three, he was fostered and then adopted by a professional couple who were supportive and caring.

By eight he was starting fires and at 13 his adoptive parents were concerned about his deceitful behaviour.

Aged 16, he attacked a “scrawny” fellow pupil at a house party, smashing a trophy over his head as he slept, causing a gash that needed stitches. The assault was without reason and bore similarities with his attack on Riley.

During service with 5 Regiment Royal Artillery he got in trouble for heavy drinking and violence, leaving in disgrace aged 21.

After the Army Rosser drifted from job to job, usually working as a chef. He seems not to have had a serious relationship in the 13 years since leaving the Army.

In 2010 he was admitted for assessment at the Airedale Centre for Mental Health after making chilling threats that he wanted to kill someone with a knife.

Psychiatrists who examined Rosser after Riley’s death concluded that he was suffering from an anti-social personality disorder with psychopathic elements.

Professor Nigel Eastman, consultant forensic psychiatrist, stated: “It may be that post trial, (the defendant) will reveal aspects of his mental functioning that offer further and better understanding of what appears still to be a bizarre and unpredicated expression of both severe violence and sexual perversion.”

Another expert said: “This homicide has all the hallmarks of a sadistically motivated offence perhaps linked to sadistic sexual fantasies or deep seated sexual pathology not revealed by the perpetrator.”

The judge, Mr Justice Coulson, described Rosser as an “exceptionally dangerous man, and there is nothing to say that such a condition could ever be modified or improved.”

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