Saturday 21 January 2017

Father who violently threw crying baby daughter in fit of temper convicted of her murder

Kim Pilling

Published 25/10/2016 | 17:29

Two-month-old Daisy-Mae Credit: Lancashire Police/PA Wire
Two-month-old Daisy-Mae Credit: Lancashire Police/PA Wire

A father who violently threw his crying baby daughter onto the sofa in a fit of temper has been convicted of her murder.

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John Burrill, 31, admitted his actions led to two-month-old Daisy-Mae suffering a fractured skull and brain damage, but he denied intending to kill or at least cause really serious harm to her at the family home in Fleetwood, Lancashire.

However, a jury at Preston Crown Court disagreed and unanimously found him guilty after just over an hour of deliberations.

The court had heard that Burrill's then-partner Ashlee Cox, mother of Daisy-Mae, described him as "moody" when he got up to feed her in the early hours of March 11 at their home in Warren Street.

Burrill told the court the baby had gone back to sleep by the time he got downstairs but began to cry again, so he picked her up.

He then admitted he lost his temper "quite a lot" and added: "I think the tiredness just took over and I really lost my rag and I threw her down onto the couch."

John Burrill, 31, has been convicted of murder Preston Crown Court, of his two-month-old daughter Daisy-Mae Credit: Lancashire Police/PA Wire
John Burrill, 31, has been convicted of murder Preston Crown Court, of his two-month-old daughter Daisy-Mae Credit: Lancashire Police/PA Wire

The defendant could not explain the extent of the injuries which the prosecution said were consistent with Daisy-Mae being gripped by the legs and swung against a hard surface.

Daisy-Mae was rushed to hospital after she went into cardiac arrest before a decision was made to turn off her life support machine on March 14.

The court heard Burrill did not admit causing her injuries until shortly before the trial got under way

The B & M Bargains store worker initially told medical staff and police that Daisy-Mae became limp while downstairs and he could not explain why.

Earlier on Wednesday in his closing speech to the jury, Andrew O'Byrne QC said the defendant had lied repeatedly to "save his own skin".

He added: "Poor Daisy-Mae made the fateful error. The child cried and irritated her father. He lost his temper and he hurt her and he killed her.

"I am sure that he now regrets it, but that is the cold and brutal truth."

Mr Justice Goss told the defendant he now faces a life prison term.

Sentencing will take place on Wednesday.

Speaking after the verdict, Miss Cox said: "Daisy-Mae was taken from us at nine weeks old. She was a beautiful baby girl and a much-loved new addition to the family.

"Words cannot express the pain and anguish my family and I have endured since Daisy-Mae's death. This suffering has been made worse by John Burrill's refusal to admit that he alone was responsible for her death.

"Even though Daisy has gone, she will never be forgotten. She will be forever in our hearts and although justice has been served it will never bring her back.

Detective Chief Inspector Dean Holden, of Lancashire Police, welcomed the jury's decision.

He said: "As Daisy-Mae's father John Burrill was in a position of trust - however, he abused this in a violent outburst which tragically led to her death.

"While we will never know exactly what happened, his actions showed a man with extreme disregard for his defenceless baby daughter.

"After being taken to hospital, medical experts agreed Daisy-Mae had been critically injured. She had sustained a large fracture to the skull and injuries consistent with shaking.

"Burrill is clearly a dangerous individual whose shocking actions robbed a family of a loved one.

"While his conviction today will bring little comfort to Daisy-Mae's relatives, I hope it will go some way to assuring them justice has been achieved."

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