AN ELTHAM teenager has been locked up for five years after being found guilty of killing his 28-year-old lover's toddler.

Cameron Rose, aged 18, of Wolfe Crescent, was sentenced at the Old Bailey today for the manslaughter of three-year-old Rhys Lawrie at the youngster's home in Columbus Square, Erith, on January 21 last year.

The epileptic child died from a brain haemorrhage and was found battered by his mother Sadie Henry - who was Rose's lover - after the teenager had been looking after him.

Rose was just 16 at the time and told an Old Bailey jury he continued to see his older lover after the tragic events – sometimes meeting in the park for sex.

The teenager – who had emotional and behavioural issues and problems at home – was convicted of manslaughter and one count of actual bodily harm by a jury on October 30.

Rose pumped the air after Judge Peter Beaumont sentenced him to four-and-a-half years for manslaughter and six months for ABH, to be spent in a youth detention centre and to run consecutively.

Judge Beaumont told Rose: “Rhys died a dreadful, violent death at your hands and that must never ever be forgotten."

Rose will spend half his sentence in custody and then be released on licence.

Henry was also cautioned for perverting the course of justice on February 22 this year.

The toddler’s grandfather Trevor Lawrie paid tribute to his “adorable” grandson.

The 64-year-old grandfather-of-two said: “He was a lovely little boy. He was an absolutely adorable little boy."

Investigating officer for the child abuse command Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orchard added: "Rhys Lawrie was not just vulnerable as any three-year-old child is by virtue of his age but he was also disabled and distressingly unable to tell anyone about the violence and pain he was suffering at the hands of Cameron Rose.

“Rhys was hurt in his own home, the very place where he should have been safe and protected from danger.”

"The investigation into Rhys' death was a lengthy and complex one in which we worked with numerous professionals from a range of agencies in order to gather the evidence required to put Cameron Rose before a court so that he could be brought to justice.

"I am glad that today Rose will start a jail term handed to him for his appalling actions against an innocent and vulnerable child."