The toddler is the youngest victim of the callous killing of George Allison, who was stabbed to death by his ‘best friend’ Kevin Batchelor during a drunken attack on May 23 last year.
The 26-year-old killer plunged a 12in knife into Mr Allison’s back at a home in Tichborne Grove, Leigh Park – and in that moment robbed Ruby and her older sister of a lifetime of memories with their dad.
Brutal Batchelor has since been jailed for at least 18 years for murdering the 21-year-old dad-of-two, formerly of Riders Lane, Leigh Park.
But it comes as little consolation for Mr Allison’s remaining family, who have today spoken of their heartbreak and the painful impact it has had on young Ruby’s life.
‘This has been really horrible for Ruby,’ said her 22-year-old mum, Courtney Murdoch, from Leigh Park. ‘She has been getting an understanding of what all happened now and she has been getting teared up. She has been in school talking about it a lot.
‘It has been horrible for her. She misses the fact she hasn’t got a dad. He has just been taken away from her and she can’t understand why. It really is so horrible.
‘There is nothing you can do about it. For her to have to go through that at three, she gets so confused about it all. She still talks to a teddy that he bought her.’
Still in nursery, young Ruby often mistakes her dad’s older brother, Sam Allison, as her father.
It’s a heartbreaking, innocent mistake which grieving 26-year-old Sam struggles to come to terms with.
‘I woke her up once and she looked at me and said: “You’re my daddy but I thought you were in heaven”. I then had to tell her “no, daddy is in heaven”. It’s horrible. I don’t know what to say to her at that age because I don’t want to upset her,’ he said.
During Batchelor’s five-week trial at Winchester Crown Court, jurors heard how Mr Allison’s killer had taken offence to something the young dad had said.
Batchelor – who has 44 previous convictions for 103 offences – grabbed a blade and was stabbing ‘erratically’ when he delivered the fatal blow to the back Mr Allison’s left shoulder causing ‘catastrophic’ injuries.
Batchelor sped off on a bike before arriving at his sister’s home to wash and change his clothes.
George died just before midnight having collapsed in the living room of friend Cherelle Ash’s home.
He was just seven weeks out of a 16-month jail term for robbery.
Mr Allison’s 71-year-old dad, David Allison, said he had been crushed by the senseless killing of his son.
‘Losing my son is heart-rending. He was my baby son, my youngest,’ the wheelchair-using pensioner told The News.
‘When Covid was at its height, he came every day to visit me to see if I needed anything because he was my carer.’
He added all he had now to cherish were the memories of his boy.
‘I remember being in hospital having an operation and Courtney was downstairs in maternity giving birth to Ruby and he brought her up to see me as soon as she was born – that’ll stick in my mind forever,’ said David.
As reported, heartless Batchelor, of East Hill, Camborne, Cornwall, has previous convictions for wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, arson, affray, racially-aggravated common assault and obstructing police.
Sentencing, Judge Jane Miller QC said Batchelor showed ‘little remorse’, and added: ‘You started the argument, you plunged the knife with such force and so deep that the one wound was fatal.’
But the family say the prison sentence isn’t nearly enough.
Sam said: ‘He is only going to lose maybe 25 years of his life. After 25 years he’ll probably get to come out of prison. George is never coming back. That’s not fair.’
Courtney added: ‘The sentence is never going to be enough…Both of his kids are now left without a dad for the rest of their lives.’
Two other people are still to be sentenced for their involvement in Mr Allison’s killing.
Hayley Batchelor, the killer’s 34-year-old sister, was convicted of assisting an offender after he turned up at her home in Highwood Lawn and washed his blood-stained clothes.
Barry Baker, 39, of Oracle Drive, Widley, disposed of the knife in a storm drain near The Swallow pub, in Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park and was also convicted of assisting an offender.
They will be sentenced on July 2.
Courtney and Sam have since paid tribute to Mr Allison, describing him as a family man and ‘party animal’.
Courtney said: ‘He doted on his two little girls. He adores them both. He wanted the best for the both of them.’
Sam added: ‘George is always going to be missed. He was my brother and I love him.’