Former soldier Anwar Daniel Rosser stabbed little Riley Turner 30 times after Riley’s mum Sharon Smith and her boyfriend Guy Earwaker allowed him to stay at her house in Keighley, last January.
A court heard that Riley’s mum woke at around 4.30am and was horrified to find Rosser curled up in a ball next to her bed - with four knives, including a brown-handled one which he had stolen from the pub where he worked as a part-time chef and used to stab little Riley.
Twin Riley was found semi-naked in his bedroom by his step-father who raised the alarm, while Rosser waited downstairs to “hear the devastated reaction” of Riley’s parents.
Rosser, known as Danny, was flanked by five security guards as he sat with his head bowed in the dock today. He did not react throughout the sentencing, while Riley’s family sobbed loudly from the packed public gallery.
As Mr Justice Coulson told Rosser he would spend the rest of his life in prison, Riley’s parents jumped up and clapped, shouting, ‘Yes, rot in hell’.
Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, told Bradford Crown Court: “By any standard, the circumstances of the killing were appalling, involving a savage level of violence.
“The position of the prosecution is that the murder involved in sadistic motivation and that, furthermore, there was at the very least a strong sexual component to the killing.”
Riley, who lived with his mum and stepfather along with his twin brother Mackenzie and baby brother Tyler, was described as an “extremely happy, active and popular little boy who was particularly close to his twin brother”.
He had spent the day before he died sledging with his family, the court heard.
On that day in January, Rosser - who lived opposite the family - had been drinking at the nearby Bracken Arms, where he “drank a good deal”, Mr Greaney said.
Then he, along with two women went back to Riley’s parents house, but when the other women left, Rosser asked if he could stay because there were some men outside who he owed money to.
Sharon and Guy - who had treated him with “considerable kindness” in the past and helped him to furnish his flat - “took pity on him” and allowed him to sleep on their sofa downstairs.
But, Mr Greaney said: “It is clear that at some stage after Sharon Smith and Guy Earwaker had gone to their bed, the defendant climbed the staircase to the house, having armed himself with four knives (one of which he had brought to the house) and one other bladed article.”
The prosecutor said that the cause of death was strangulation and stab wounds.
When Sharon woke and saw Rosser sitting next to her bed, she told him to get out, but he asked for some tobacco and “said he was sorry”, Mr Greaney told the court.
When Guy went to check that he had left, he noticed that Riley’s bedroom light was on, he then found the poor boy.
“Sharon Smith describes how she was screaming. Guy Earwaker then heard the front door slam. The defendant had been downstairs, obviously listening to their distress as they found and attempted to tend to their child,” Mr Greaney said.
Guy chased after Rosser, shouting threats, but when Rosser told him to ‘f*** off’, he returned to the house - and desperately carried the dead body of Riley to their next door neighbour’s house, seeking help.
Paramedics attended and took Riley to hospital but there was nothing to be done and the little boy was pronounced dead at 6am.
Rosser was discovered the next day when he had broken into a caravan, telling the man who found him “I have ruined my life” - which Mr Greaney said demonstrated that he was able to recall what had happened, despite now denying any recollection.
Rosser, who enlisted in the 5 Regiment Royal Artillery at the age of 16 but never saw active service, was described by experts as a “psychopath” with “alcoholic dependance syndrome” - while the prosecutor deemed him “exceptionally dangerous”.
One expert had said Rosser presented “immediate and grave” risk that could “involve any member of the public but would be more likely to have some association, could involve further acts of sadistic homicide and could involve further child victims”.
Sentencing Rosser, who did not react as he was jailed, Mr Justice Coulson told him he had “grossly breached the trust” of Riley’s parents who showed him kindness and allowed him into their home.
He called the crime a premeditated “appalling catalogue of injuries” committed with “appalling savagery”.
He appeared to have been the victim of physical abuse as a baby, Mr Greaney told the court, and was adopted by a “professional couple” at the age of five.
From the age of eight, the prosecutor said, he was noted to have “poorly controlled” behaviour who started fires - and chillingly, at the age of 16,
attacked another boy when he was sleeping, smashing a trophy into his skull.
He was also admitted for mental health assessment at the Airedale Centre for Mental Health in early 2011 after he self-harmed, where he was seen intoxicated, “covered in blood” and “verbally abusive... threatening and throwing things at staff”.
A victim impact statement by Riley’s mother Sharon, read to the court by Mr Greaney, referred to Rosser as a “sick monster”, adding: “I live every day in this nightmare. My son’s never coming back because of that sick monster.
“I wish I had told that monster no that night when he asked if he could sleep.
“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 horrific things because of my kind heart. My kind heart cost me my son’s life.
“I don’t feel like ever being nice to people at all except my family. The guilt eats me away every day.”
In a statement released after the case, Riley’s family said: “While justice has now been done, no sentence will ever be enough for what we are going through and what that man has done to our family.
“It will not bring our little man back. Riley was always so happy and bubbly, caring and lovely. His twin brother misses him so much.
“We will never come to terms with what has happened and will always feel hurt at the way Riley was so cruelly and suddenly taken from us.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “This has been an incredibly horrifying and tragic case which has had a profound effect on all those involved in the investigation.
“Riley was a very much loved son, grandson and brother who will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
“Rosser abused the kindness and compassion shown to him by Riley’s family, when they allowed him to stay in the safety of their own home.
“He has shown no remorse or compassion for the pain suffered by Riley’s family by offering an explanation for his savage and gratuitous actions.
“The death of Riley in such circumstances provides a clear indication that Rosser presents a significant danger to all those who may come into contact with him, which is reflected in the (whole life) sentence imposed upon him today.
“Today brings to an end what has been a very sad and disturbing case.”