The mother and stepfather of five-year-old Logan Mwangi, whose battered body was found dumped in a river, have been jailed for life for his murder.
Logan, described in court as a ‘smiling, cheerful little boy’, was discovered in the River Ogmore in Pandy Park, Bridgend, South Wales, on the morning of July 31, 2021.
Police found him partially submerged, wearing dinosaur pyjama bottoms and a Spider-Man top, just 250 metres from his home.
Cardiff Crown Court heard the youngster had suffered 56 external cuts and bruises, and ‘catastrophic’ internal injuries, which were likened to a high-speed road accident.
Experts said the injuries could have only been caused by a ‘brutal and sustained assault’ inflicted on Logan in the hours, or days, prior his death.
They also said the injuries were ‘consistent with child abuse’.
Logan’s stepdad, John Cole, 40, mum, Angharad Williamson, 31, and a 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of his age, were convicted of Logan’s murder.
The judge, Mrs Justice Jefford, handed each of the adults a life sentence.
Cole was jailed for at least 29 years, while Williamson was ordered to serve a minimum term of 28 years.
The teenager was given a sentence of life detention with a minimum term of 15 years.
Williamson and the youth were convicted of a further charge of perverting the course of justice – an offence Cole had admitted before trial.
In the months and weeks leading up to his death, Logan had been ‘dehumanised’ by his family, prosecutors said.
Logan’s stammer is said to have worsened, becoming particularly bad around Cole. He wet himself more frequently and began self-harming.
Friends of the couple said Cole told them he did not like Logan, and others said his attitude changed after becoming obsessed with the idea that Williamson had cheated with Logan’s father Ben Mwangi.
After Williamson gave birth to Cole’s own child, Cole was reluctant to let Logan see the baby and later claimed the boy had tried to smother the infant.
Medics made a safeguarding referral to the police after Logan suffered a broken arm in August 2020. By March, due to concerns over Cole, Logan and his younger sibling had been assigned their own social worker.
In June, a month before Logan died, the family were removed from the child protection register – meaning it was believed there was no longer a risk of significant harm. A foster family the youth stayed with claimed to have heard him say he wanted to kill Logan.
A support worker also heard the youth singing: ‘I love kids, I f****** love kids, I love to punch kids in the head, it’s orgasmic.’
Weeks before he died, Logan suffered a broken collarbone but medical treatment was never sought for him.
On July 20, Logan tested positive for Covid-19 and he was shut in his bedroom with a baby gate barring him from leaving. Caroline Rees QC, prosecuting, said: ‘He had been kept like a prisoner in his small bedroom in the flat you saw, a room likened by Williamson as a dungeon.’
Timeline of key events in the life of murdered Logan Mwangi
Here is a timeline of the key events in the life of Logan Mwangi, from his birth up until the discovery of his body in the River Ogmore in Bridgend in July 2021.
– March 15, 2016: Logan Mwangi is born in the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, to Angharad Williamson and Benjamin Mwangi. Their relationship quickly breaks down and Mr Mwangi moves back to Brentwood, Essex.
– June 2016: Mr Mwangi visits Logan in Bridgend for their first father’s day together and they have regular contact. Williamson and Logan move in with Mr Mwangi in Essex but by August have returned to Wales.
By the end of the year, Williamson had married another man, but the relationship became violent. During this time, contact between Logan and his father ceases.
– 2019: Contact between Logan and his father resumes. In April, Williamson takes Logan to visit Mr Mwangi and his family in Essex. This was the last time Mr Mwangi saw Logan, as Williamson was in a relationship with Cole and was preventing access.
– August 16, 2020: Logan is taken to hospital by his mother, Williamson, who said he sustained a dislocated shoulder when he fell down the stairs the day before. Doctors examining Logan find he has a broken arm. The hospital makes a referral to social services and Williamson gives a statement to the police.
– January 21, 2021: Williamson calls 101 and during the conversation tells the operator the youth defendant had confessed to pushing Logan down the stairs when he fractured his arm.
– June 2021: Social workers in Bridgend remove Logan and his younger sibling from the child protection register – meaning they are no longer considered to be at significant risk of harm.
– July 2021: At some point during the weeks before his death, Logan suffered a broken collarbone. There are no records of the injury being treated.
– July 20, 2021: Logan tests positive for Covid-19 and has to self-isolate.
– July 29, 2021: Logan is allegedly seriously assaulted by both Cole and the youth, an incident which Williamson claimed included Logan being punched in the stomach by Cole.
– July 30, 2021: Williamson allegedly lifts Logan up forcefully by his pyjama top, causing it to rip, and shouts at him to ‘tell the truth’. The same day, social worker Deborah Williams visits the flat but is denied entry, as Logan has Covid-19. She stays for 20 minutes and leaves without seeing or hearing Logan.
– July 31, 2021: At 2.30am, CCTV shows Cole carrying Logan’s body out of the flat and towards the river, while being followed by the youth. They return to the property but leave again to dispose of Logan’s ripped pyjama top.
At about 5.45am Williamson makes a 999 call to police, claiming to have woken to find Logan missing from the house, and accusing another woman of having taken him.
Two police officers searching the nearby park area just after 6am discover Logan’s body in the River Ogmore.
Logan was allowed to leave self-isolation the day he was found dead.
Speaking to ITV ahead of the sentencing, Mr Mwangi said: ‘What child has to go through that sort of torture for such a long period of the time? No, it really doesn’t seem real.
‘One of the biggest questions in my whole entire life I’ll always be asking myself is, “Why? Why did this happen? Why did Logan have to die?”’
Mr Mwangi was not told his son was on the child protection register and wants the law changed so social services have a duty to inform estranged parents.
He said: ‘I probably would have tried to take him away. Why didn’t they do anything to make it a safe environment for him when it clearly wasn’t?
‘If I can stop this from happening to anybody else, then that will be the biggest, positive, most positive thing.Ben Mwangi tearfully remembers the last time he saw son Logan Mwangi alive
‘My lasting memory of him was just a happy little boy that called me “Daddy”.
‘The wonderful memories I have with my son will never be tarnished. They will forever be in my heart and soul.
‘I loved him so much and somehow I have to live my life knowing that I will never get to see him grow up to be the wonderful man I know that he could be.’
A child practice review has been launched into Logan’s death and will be led by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board, which includes local councils and the police, probation service and NHS.
An ITV documentary, The Murder Of Logan Mwangi, was produced in conjunction with South Wales Police. It starts at 9pm on Thursday.