Mother jailed for killing her baby through force feeding
Published 12/11/2011 | 05:00
A nurse was yesterday jailed for three years for killing her baby by force feeding her.
Gloria Dwomoh (31) was found guilty at the Old Bailey in London of causing or allowing the death of 10-month-old Diamond. She was said to be obsessed with Diamond's weight and poured liquidised food down her throat with a jug when she was weaning her.
Diamond died in March last year after being taken to a hospital near her home in Waltham Forest, east London.
A post-mortem examination found she died from pneumonia caused by food in her lungs.
The prosecution said Diamond was forced to take her feed from the jug after the spout was placed in her mouth.
Defence counsel Trevor Burke said: "She has endured the loss of her child for over a year. She has been punished enough."
He presented the court with a 1,000-signature petition from family and friends pleading for mercy, and asked the judge to impose a suspended sentence.
Judge Brian Barker described Dwomoh's actions as a "misguided obsession".
"The forcing of food into your daughter against her natural instincts would have caused her daily distress," he said.
"At best it was a misguided obsession -- but a determined obsession -- which must have caused daily prolonged distress to your daughter.
"It cannot be described as an act of kindness. It took away her life and that is something you must live with."
He said the practice of feeding by pouring food from a cup or jug into a child's throat was culturally acceptable in some parts of the world. "In this country the feeding of a child in this way, against its will, is wrong and dangerous," he added.
Dwomoh, who worked at St Thomas' Hospital in London, wept in court as she denied doing anything to harm her baby.
She said she and her siblings had been fed the same way by her mother in Ghana.
On the night Diamond died, she had fed the child, bathed her and put her to bed before going to work. "I didn't do anything to her. I didn't do anything at all to hurt her," she said as she broke down in the witness box.
Dwomoh showed the jury two small china jugs, the size of cups, which she used for feeding. She said she made up feeds in one jug and transferred small amounts to feed the girl into the other.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis told the jury: "This is a very sad case. She died because of the method by which her parents chose to feed her."