Man jailed for murdering his adopted son

Mdr 78-14 Colin McSweeny

A man was yesterday jailed for life after he was found guilty of killing his adopted son by hitting him over the head with an iron bar.

Colin McSweeney, who will serve a minimum of 14 and a half years, is believed to have been unhappy that his 24-year-old son Shaun was planning on moving into a flat with his five-year-old daughter.

Retired fireman McSweeny, 59, and his wife entertained a friend in their home as their son’s lifeless body was left in the garage, before the father was found with his body in the boot of his car after being spotted trying to dump it in the Thames.

The jury heard that Shaun, who lived with his parents and five-year-old daughter, had been planning on moving into a flat on Friday, 21 November 2014. 

The night before at about 8:30 Shaun sent his girlfriend a text message about his move; she replied but heard nothing further from him.

The court heard that Shaun was unable to send any further texts – because McSweeny had struck him on the head with an iron bar.

And as his body lay in the garage, his parents entertained a family friend.

McSweeny was arrested in the early hours of the following day after police received a call from a member of the public. The witness reported seeing a man attempting to put a body in the River Thames at Deptford Wharf, Deptford.

Officers responding to the call stopped a black Lexus in nearby Evelyn Street. When asked whether there was anything in the car, McSweeny replied “a body”. The lifeless body of 24-year-old Shaun was found in the boot.

A post-mortem examination cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

The iron bar was later discovered in the family’s garage, along with Shaun’s wallet and a number of bloodied tarpaulins. His van was found parked in Denmark Road, Norwood, approximately one-and-a-half miles from the family home. His mobile phone was inside.

McSweeny was charged with murder on 21 November.

Detective Chief Inspector Diane Tudway, from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Colin McSweeny told the court that he killed Shaun as he feared being killed himself, the jury did not believe this to be the case and found him guilty of murder. Our thoughts are with Shaun’s family and friends.”


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