Emma Wilson – life for murdering her son

Emma Wilson

Introduction and facts

Emma Wilson (25) was convicted in December 2013 of the murder of Callum, her 11 month old son, in March 2011. On 24th January 2014 she was sentenced. The only sentence that could be passed was life imprisonment, but the Judge set the tariff at 14 years.

Callum died to a brain injury. It is not clear exactly how this was inflicted, but additionally, “Callum had suffered fractures to nine ribs, his right arm and left leg and had bruising across his face and body.” At the trial, Ms Wilson claimed that these had been caused by Callum’s elder brother, but this was rejected by the jury.

The motive for the murder is unclear and it seems that Ms Wilson had been a good mother to her older son. The prosecution accepted that Ms Wilson did not intend to kill her son (but instead to cause him really serious harm). There was (perhaps surprisingly) no indication of mental illness.



Our factsheet on life sentences is here. The starting point would be one of 15 years (and there was no discount for a plea of guilty). The violence and breach of trust would appear to be an aggravating feature. Ms Wilson had never been in trouble before which, whilst a mitigating feature, has been said to be of little significance in cases such as murder.

For that reason, it is not clear why the tariff was reduced by one year. Given that Ms Wilson will be in her 40s by the time that she is released, it is unlikely that she would present a threat to anyone, but the sentence would appear to be a merciful one. If there is an appeal (or the sentencing remarks are published) we will re-visit this one to go into more detail.

9 thoughts on “Emma Wilson – life for murdering her son

    1. liberte, egalite, sororite

      If the press are to be believed she asked for Callum to be fostered, which he was, and then asked to have him back and eventually went on to kill him. I struggle with this as a mother. All I can hear is a child’s futile crying, futile, because the person who is hurting him is the person who is supposed to protect him at all costs. He stood no chance in his short life.

      1. Alison Jones (@jonesalison70)

        I totally agree, little Callum stood no chance ! Am I being unduly harsh as I wished the sentence to be longer ? So his mother cried out for help, it still doesn’t give her the right to kill him. I too, find it abhorrent that a mother is the one person to protect her son whatever and she failed him miserably. God help her but I think she got off lightly. The sentence was far too lenient.

  1. Andrew

    It is, of course, precisely because such violence by women, and above all by mothers, is so rare that it sticks so horribly in the mind. I struggle with it as a father, L-E-S, and I cannot begin to understand how horrible it must be for you.

  2. Pingback: Emma Wilson – sentence increased for murder | UK Criminal Law Blog

  3. DH

    I believe the wrong decision was made by the jury in this case. Having heard much of the evidence, its not by any means as clear cut as presented and I do believe their minds were made up long before they retired to a make a decision


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