In the Media

Sam Back's killer must do 13 years

PUBLISHED August 2, 2006

A CRACK cocaine addict who murdered his girlfriend's toddler must serve at least 13 years in jail before he can apply for parole.

Aaron Leonard Goodman, 30, formerly of Church Road, St Leonards, was jailed for life at Lewes Crown Court in March 2002, after being found guilty of murdering Sam Back, days before his second birthday in December 2000.
Leonard not only killed the youngster, but also left the body decaying in a cot for 18 days.

After reviewing the case at London's Royal Courts of Justice recently, Mrs Justice Rafferty ruled Goodman must serve a minimum jail 'tariff' of 13 years.

She stressed that Goodman will only be freed after serving his tariff if he can persuade the parole board he poses no danger to the public.

Goodman had lived with his then girlfriend, Emma Back, who was convicted of cruelty and conspiring to prevent the burial of a corpse.

Mrs Justice Rafferty said: "The child's fatal injury was a ruptured bowel, which allowed spillage of its contents into the abdomen.

"He would have been in excruciating pain, quiet, and immobile because of his discomfort.

"Death would have been anything from instantaneous to one or two hours after injury.

Goodman and Back left the body in the cot for 18 days, her account being because Goodman said they should, Goodman's that it was because she wished to be with the body on Sam's second birthday (four days later) and on Christmas Day."

According to the judge the aggravating features of the case were the use of a hard drug, a previous bowel injury which Sam had and which could not have gone unnoticed, the vulnerability of a small child and the lies which followed the death.

She said: "Mitigating features are his genuine inability to come to terms with what he did, his probable certainty in his own mind that he is not guilty, and his evident emotions during the trial when the plight of Sam was mentioned."

She set the minimum term at 13 years, from which will be deducted the 11 months and seven days Goodman spent in custody on remand before he was sentenced.