That evening Alcock struck young Violet Mullen in the stomach hard enough to rupture her internal organs, placed her back in her cot, and waited for her mother, 22-year-old Claire Flanagan to return home. He later called an ambulance, telling them the child had blue lips and looked “spaced out”.
Paramedics were called to the scene, but their efforts could not save Violet. The child died from internal bleeding at the Royal Oldham Hospital.
At her trial, Claire Flanagan told the court she’d seen no signs of abuse of her child by Alcock.
The court heard evidence that the child had suffered at least three separate assaults before she died. A post-mortem investigation discovered more than 35 different injuries on Violet’s face and body, including rib fractures, bruises and brain damage.
Alcock, 28, had moved in with Flanagan a mere 48 hours after they started dating. A former girlfriend described him as “possessive and controlling”, with a tendency towards violence during arguments. His rage was reportedly enhanced by his use of steroids to help him bulk up while exercising.
Claire Flanagan was recently found not guilty of murder, but guilty of causing or allowing the death. She’ll be jailed for five years.
Judge Clement Goldstole spared no words while sentencing Alcock.
“You, Gary Alcock, subjected her to repeated violence. You caused injuries to her brain, face, arms and legs with a combination of punches, slaps and – bordering on the sadistic – pinches.
“This was the way you chose to cope with a demanding little girl who demanded your attention and interrupted your time-consuming hobby of playing computer games.”
Alcock put Violet to bed on the day that he killed her, “no doubt in the hope that you would have some time free to indulge your desire to play on your X-Box”.
He continued: “Violet was sick, she required changing, she required your time and patience.
“You lost control and your temper in the most unimaginable way. You struck her first in the mouth and then inexplicably and with savage force in the stomach.”
Alcock received life in prison for the heinous act, and must serve at least 21 years before being considered for parole.
It’s a tragic tale about a violent man and a woman so desperate for companionship she’d put her child in harm’s way. It’s happened before, and it will, unfortunately, likely happen again.
One might ask why we’re even posting a story like this, with such a tenuous connection to gaming. Judging by the headlines we’re seeing in the news media, maybe the connection isn’t as tenuous as it seems.