The killer of baby Alfie Sullock could spend longer behind bars after the Attorney General’s Office confirmed they are reviewing his sentence.
Michael Pearce was sentenced to nine years in prison on July 30 for killing the six-week-old baby in Nelson.
The 33-year-old is likely to serve half of the sentence before being released on licence. He was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter by a majority verdict at Newport Crown Court.
Children’s charity the NSPCC said the sentence “may not seem very long for the price of a defenceless baby’s life” and Caerphilly Observer readers also expressed their outrage on social media.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office said they had received around ten complaints about the “leniency” of the sentence.
Either Jeremy Wright MP or his deputy Robert Buckland MP will now review the sentence and if they believe it should be increased, will refer the matter to the Court of Appeal.
The spokeswoman said: “Mr Pearce’s sentence has already been sent to this office for consideration under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.
“There is a strict 28 day deadline to consider it, which expires on August 27, therefore a decision on whether or not it should be referred to the Court of Appeal as possibly unduly lenient will be made by then.”
Pearce killed Alfie Sullock while his mother celebrated his birth on a night out in August last year.
She has previously said she is disappointed with the sentence.
Speaking on the court steps after the sentencing, Donna Sullock, 29, held back tears to give a statement.
She said: “We are disappointed with today’s verdict but satisfied he will still go to prison for what he’s done.
“Whatever sentence he will get will never be long enough for taking Alfie’s life away. We have been through a year of absolute hell.”
“Thanks to everyone for all their support, friends, family, the community and people that don’t even know me.
“Everyone’s been absolutely fantastic and got us through this traumatising time. Rest in peace Baby Alfie.”
The court was told during the trial how Pearce attacked Alfie with bottles of bubble bath and hit him with a baseball boot.
He claimed he could not account for Alfie’s injuries – calling paramedics who found Alfie “blue, cold and totally lifeless”.
Prosecutor Michael Mather-Lees previously told the court: “Alfie was repeatedly beaten with objects and sustained gratuitous injuries.
“The baby was beaten with a shoe or sandal and the bottom of a plastic bottle.
“This was not a one-off moment of exasperation which can tragically happen with a screaming child.”
Des Mannion, NSPCC national head of service for Wales, said: “Sentences handed down to child abusers should act as a deterrent and in this case nine years may not seem very long for the price of a defenceless baby’s life.
“The judge will have had all the necessary details to hand for imposing this jail term but we understand the family may feel baby Alfie’s killer has got away lightly.
“Looking ahead to when Pearce is freed from jail, we have to ensure measures are in place so he never has another opportunity to harm more children.”
The Attorney General’s Office only need to receive one complaint to review a sentence.
If the sentence is referred to the Court of Appeal, three High Court judges will decide whether to increase Pearce’s jail time or throw the appeal out.