Father's tears for dead infant

TRAGIC toddler Robbie Lee Taylor's father today paid a moving eulogy to the infant from the jail cell where he is having to cope with the youngster's death.

TRAGIC toddler Robbie Lee Taylor's father today paid a moving eulogy to the infant from the jail cell where he is having to cope with the youngster's death.

Neil Taylor is now preparing himself for the trauma of standing by the infant's graveside in handcuffs, as he says goodbye to the little boy who died at his Suffolk home last month.

Serving a five-year sentence for robbery, Mr Taylor knows he must pay the penalty for his crime. However, as a grieving father, he was determined to express what Robbie meant to him and speak about the devastating impact of his death.

Robbie was found in a container of water mixed with cleaning fluid at his home in Hillcrest, Knodishall, on August 13, after his father's concerns for the child's welfare went unheeded.

Mr Taylor, a father-of-three, said: "He was my youngest son. I loved him and, still do, unconditionally. He was a bubbly boy, full of life, with the biggest blue eyes you've ever seen.

"I know that I will never in my lifetime replace the feelings I have for him. It cannot be done. I feel as if a part of me died on that fateful and tragic day.

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"I will miss him for the rest of my life and being in prison makes it worse for me to cope with.

"Although I must admire the staff of Norwich health care for their treatment of me, I am on medication to help me cope. But as some pop group said - the drugs don't work - as the pain I feel will every day will never go away. Some days it's worse than others, but I can always rely on the staff here to talk to me and it normally helps.

"I've been granted permission to go to my son's funeral, but in handcuffs."

Mr Taylor has just one photograph of Robbie Lee to remember the little boy by. He said it was the only picture ever taken of the infant. It's existence provides some solace for him, as do the words of the song Tears in Heaven, written by Eric Clapton. The rock star wrote the song as a tribute to his four-year-old son Conor, after the boy plunged 53 floors to his death from a New York skyscraper in 1991.

He said: "It (the photograph) is all I have, apart from a footprint, a handprint and a lock of his hair. As Eric Clapton once wrote - there will be no more tears in heaven by this man. I only hope he is right because, as the song says, I don't belong in heaven. It is of great comfort to me and will be played at Robbie's funeral.

"I think he will be the most handsome angel heaven has. But there are so many tears to be shed in my lifetime and by the other people who loved him as much as I did."

Mr Taylor is still embittered by the failure of Suffolk's social care department to pass the letter he wrote concerning his worries over Robbie's welfare to social workers. For seven days the letter remained within the department due to an administrative error for which Suffolk County Council has apologised to Mr Taylor.

Prior to that, the letter which was dated July 26 - 19 days before the tragedy - had been sent to the wrong address and was then re-diverted to the correct one on August 3, finally arriving on August 5.

In a written apology for the week's delay Suffolk's former director of social care and health Anthony Douglas stressed administrative procedures had been updated as part of an internal inquiry.

However Mr Taylor said: "Does this bring Robbie-Lee, my beloved and beautiful son, back to me?"

Tears In Heaven

by Eric Clapton and Will Jennings

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong

And carry on,

'Cause I know I don't belong

Here in heaven.

Would you hold my hand

If I saw you in heaven?

Would you help me stand

If I saw you in heaven?

I'll find my way

Through night and day,

'Cause I know I just can't stay

Here in heaven.

Time can bring you down,

Time can bend your knees.

Time can break your heart,

Have you begging please, begging please.

Beyond the door,

There's peace I'm sure,

And I know there'll be no more

Tears in heaven.

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong

And carry on,

'Cause I know I don't belong

Here in heaven.

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