Skip to main content

Accessibility controls

Main content area

Life in prison for Derbyshire father

|News, Violent crime

A father from Heanor in Derbyshire has been sentenced to life behind bars for murdering his 11-year-old son in June 2022.

Michael Harrison attacked his son Mikey at an address in Heanor, punching and kicking him repeatedly, causing catastrophic internal injuries. After the attack, he drove him to a street close to nearby Shipley Park and dialled 999, claiming Mikey had fallen out of a tree on the park while playing hide and seek.

Further investigations showed that this story was a lie and that Harrison had gone to considerable lengths to try and cover up what he had done, including completely clearing his house and disposing of the van he used to transport Mikey after the attack.

On 3 April, at a hearing at Derby Crown Court, Harrison pleaded guilty to murder. He was today, 18 May, sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years and 6 months.

James Whyley from the CPS said: “Mikey’s death was a tragic waste of life, caused by his own father in a senseless, brutal attack. It is difficult to understand how someone can use such uncontrolled violence against a child who looks to them for protection, let alone the callous way he tried to cover his tracks instead of seeking medical treatment.

“Our thoughts are with Mikey’s loved ones who have to deal with the tragic loss of a much-loved young boy and the manner in which he died. My heart goes out to them for their loss.”

In building the case against Michael Harrison, the CPS instructed medical experts, including a paediatrician, to assess the injuries inflicted on Mikey. They concluded that the injuries were such that they must have been caused by severe force.  This allowed the prosecution to demonstrate that Harrison could only have acted with intent to cause really serious harm.

With overwhelming evidence that the defendant had inflicted the injuries and the nature of the force he used, he had little option but to plead guilty to murder.

A further count of controlling and coercive behaviour was left to lie on file.

Detective Inspector Paul Bullock from Derbyshire police said:

“Michael Harrison has never given an account for why he killed Mikey but his conduct on the day of the tragic events makes it abundantly clear that his primary interest was his own freedom and not the life of his own son.

“We now know the truth, that Mikey was killed by Harrison after a brutal assault that left him with the most serious of injuries. Harrison a strong, fully grown man would have been under no illusion that Mikey was anything other than seriously injured.

"Today our thoughts are with Mikey's family. I would like to pass on both my own, and the wider force's, continued condolences. I would also like to appeal on their behalf that their privacy is respected at this time."

Notes to editors

  • James Whyley is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands
  • Offences left to lie on file are not pursued for a conviction, but do not result in the defendant being acquitted

Further reading

Scroll to top