A mother who scalded her 19-month-old daughter and left her screaming in pain has been jailed for life for her murder.
Gracie Crowder was killed by Katie Crowder, 26, who poured hot water over her and then spent an hour “cleaning up” at her Mansfield home before going for help.
The infant suffered deep burns to 65% of her body, and a Home Office pathologist found she would have cried out “vigorously” and suffered organ failure for an hour, Nottingham Crown Court heard previously.
Jailing Crowder for life with a minimum term of 21 years, Justice Jeremy Baker said: “It is clear from the medical evidence that this would have caused Gracie intense pain, that would have led her to cry out vigorously, become distressed and seek to physically escape from the source of the heat.
“Furthermore, her death would not have occurred swiftly; on the contrary, Gracie would have continued to suffer pain and distress for a significant period of time – an hour or more.”
He said that Crowder’s leaving her injured baby was “as disturbing as it is tragic”.
The court heard previously that Crowder went to her parents’ house on 6 March sounding “panicked” and saying “she’s dead”.
When her parents asked “what the hell have you done”, Crowder told them she “found her like this”.
The court heard previously that Crowder, who appeared to have taken cocaine before or after Gracie’s death, told police she was cleaning up dog mess at the time.
She said she found her daughter face down in the bathroom.
However, Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, told jurors “that you can be sure Gracie Crowder was killed by a deliberate and unlawful act by her mother”.
“Gracie Crowder’s death was not an instant death. It would have taken in the region of one hour for her to die,” she said.
“You may ask – why the delay in calling for help?
“It is the Crown’s case that the delay was Katie Crowder covering her tracks – she knew what she had done.
“She was clearing up, she was clearing away, she was thinking about a way of explaining what she had done.”
The court heard Crowder had said of her daughter in the past: “I need to get her to nursery, I never get a break at all.”
On Wednesday, Justice Baker said: “For whatever reason, instead of seeking prompt medical attention for Gracie, which may well have saved her life, you did not seek assistance from your parents, who lived a few doors away, until after Gracie had died.
“Thereafter all attempts to save her life, both by the paramedics at the scene and doctors at the hospital, were rendered futile.”
Gracie was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.
The judge said there was not enough evidence she intended to kill Gracie as opposed to causing “really serious harm”.
“Over the period of time which Gracie had been in your care since her birth … you had a close and loving relationship with your daughter and provided her with a reasonable standard of care,” he added.
“Not only has Gracie lost her life as a result of what you did to her that morning, your family have lost their grandchild and niece and you have also lost a daughter.”
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