In May 2009, Richard McTear had a row with ex-girlfriend, Jasmine Bedwell. He grabbed her 3-month-old son and sped off in a car. The baby’s body was found in the early hours of the following morning, abandoned on a roadside. Something unthinkable had taken place...
Jasmine Bedwell didn’t have an easy start to life. In and out of foster care, she’d experienced violence and neglect.
She ran away 28 times, often lost her temper.
Then, age 17, she fell pregnant, faced life as a single mum.
But it was a turning point for Jasmine.
Case workers in Tampa, Florida were impressed with the changes in her. She seemed more settled, took more responsibility.
So they set her up in an apartment, to raise her child and give it a better start in life than the one she’d had.
Then she met Richard McTear.
‘You’re the prettiest pregnant woman I’ve ever seen,’ he told Jasmine. She was swept off her feet.
Richard stood by Jasmine during the birth of her son Emanuel on 25 January 2009.
Infatuated, Jasmine had Richard McTear’s nickname – Rico – tattooed on her neck.
She must have longed for a settled family, a father figure for her little boy.
Sadly, their relationship soon started to deteriorate. McTear became jealous and violent.
There were vicious rows, beatings. Jasmine wanted to leave but, apart from her baby, McTear was all she had in the world.
On 4 May 2009, Jasmine took baby Emanuel, 3 months, with her to a friend’s flat, against Richard McTear’s wishes.
And when she returned in the early hours, he was waiting, furious. He launched himself at Jasmine, hitting, biting her.
He snatched a fizzy drink, poured it over Emanuel, hurled the baby in his car seat across the room.
Jasmine grabbed her son, dashed for the door, but McTear snatched the baby, drove off in his car.
Frantic, Jasmine called the police, begged them to find her son.
Not long after, a man driving to work saw what he thought was a doll at the side of the road.
He went back and realised that it was a baby – dead, scratched and battered, tossed from a car like rubbish.
Police found and arrested Richard McTear.
In August 2013, Richard McTear appeared in court and denied first-degree murder in the killing of baby Emanuel.
Jasmine Bedwell, then 22, took the witness stand. She spoke about phone calls that she received from McTear hours before her baby’s death.
‘He told me he was going to shoot my baby in the face and p*ss on him,’ she said. ‘And he was gonna kill both of us.’
But the judge deemed that Jasmine’s references to previous domestic violence were damaging to McTear getting a fair hearing.
A mistrial was declared and it would be a year later, in July 2014, that McTear, 26, went on trial again.
Again, he denied killing Emanuel by throwing him from the car window. But prosecutors claimed that it was the ‘ultimate act of revenge’ on Jasmine Bedwell.
The court heard Emanuel’s blood was found on McTear’s shorts, as well as the car.
Jasmine’s blood was also on the shorts. And bite marks on Jasmine were a match to McTear’s teeth.
A medical expert said that Emanuel’s injuries were similar to victims of plane crashes or people who’d jumped from a bridge.
The jury broke down when they were shown pictures of the baby’s devastating injuries.
Jasmine took the witness stand again. This time, she was warned not to mention McTear’s criminal record or previous violence.
She insisted she was telling the truth about what happened that night. But McTear’s defence said she’d previously threatened to harm herself and her baby – and had, in the past, made up stories about her baby being abducted.
‘There’s no doubt that Emanuel died from great trauma,’ the defence said. ‘But how and why and who are not so clear…’
The defence insisted only three of the marks on Jasmine were bites, and there wasn’t enough evidence to say for sure McTear had caused them.
They also insisted that there was no evidence that he had thrown the baby out of a car.
‘There’s no clear explanation of how that baby got to the side of that road,’ the Assistant Public Defender said.
The jury deliberated for over seven hours before finding Richard McTear, 26, guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, battery, and aggravated child abuse charges. He was sentenced to life without parole.
A life for a tiny, innocent life.