Baby force-feeding death: Mother Gloria Dwomoh jailed

Gloria Dwomoh
Image caption Gloria Dwomoh was obsessed with her daughter's weight, the court heard

A mother who force-fed her baby girl who later died has been jailed.

Gloria Dwomoh, a 31-year-old nurse from Walthamstow, London, was sent to prison for three years after being convicted of allowing or causing the death.

The 10-month-old, named in court as Diamond, was forced to take solid foods from the age of six months. She died in March 2010.

The Old Bailey heard Diamond died from pneumonia caused by food in her lungs that had blocked her airways.

Dwomoh, who was convicted last month, had denied the charge.

The trial heard the defendant, who worked at St Thomas's Hospital near Waterloo, was obsessed with Diamond's weight and as she was weaning her on to solid food, used a jug to feed her liquidised food, including meat and cereals.

During the trial, Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, said the food went down the "wrong way" for months and the spout of the jug was placed into the girl's mouth to "prevent her closing it".

"If you have a child who is distressed and choking, you do not carry on," he said.

During her trial, Dwomoh told the court she and her siblings had been fed the same way by her mother in Ghana.

"I didn't do anything to her," she told the jury. "I didn't do anything at all to hurt her."

However, the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Brian Barker, said forcing her daughter was against "her natural instincts" causing her "daily distress".

"At best it was a misguided obsession - but a determined obsession - which must have caused daily prolonged distress to your daughter," he said.

"It cannot be described as an act of kindness.

"It took away her life and that is something you must live with."

Mercy petition

Trevor Burke QC, for Dwomoh, told the court she had been "punished enough".

"She has endured the loss of her child for over a year," he said.

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.

Her supporters had demonstrated outside the the Old Bailey.

A serious case review found "weaknesses and shortcomings" in the actions of some agencies involved with the family, said Laura Eades, chair of Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children's Board.

"Had best practice had been followed, the risk to Diamond of force-feeding would have been better recognised and the family would have been offered further support and intervention," she said.

"This should have reduced the probability of Diamond being subject to behaviour that proved, in this case, to be fatal."

However, the report concluded Diamond's death "was not predictable".

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