Humberside

Mia Gregson murder: Couple jailed over toddler's death

Jonathan Garner and Samantha Gregson Image copyright Humberside Police / SWNS
Image caption Jonathan Garner and Samantha Gregson were found guilty by a jury at Sheffield crown Court

A man who killed his girlfriend's 23-month-old daughter because she was crying has been jailed for life for her murder.

Jonathan Garner, 26, was convicted at Sheffield Crown Court of smothering toddler Mia Gregson at their home in Hull in February 2014.

Her mother Samantha Gregson, 26, was jailed for four years for allowing her daughter's death.

The judge, Mr Justice Goss, jailed Garner for a minimum of 20 years.

The jury heard how Mia was taken to hospital in on 13 February 2014 but later died.

Mr Goss told Garner: "This was a bad case of child cruelty involving abusive and violent behaviour and, ultimately, the use of fatal violence on a very young and vulnerable child."

The judge said he accepted that Gregson was controlled and abused by Garner and that she had been a loving mother to her daughter before the relationship started.

However, he added that she had ignored warnings from social services about Garner's history of domestic violence.

The judge said Garner, of Thirlmere Avenue, Hull, "bullied, threatened and injured" Mia in the time he lived with her and said the couple had "peddled lies" about what happened.

He told Gregson, of Melling Close, Chesterfield: "You failed to act on the obvious injuries Mia was suffering and must have been aware of the ongoing risk that your partner posed to the health and well-being of your daughter."

Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said Garner was heard by neighbours "regularly, if not almost constantly" shouting at the little girl. On one occasion police were called to the house.

He told the jury: "The shouting took the form of threats of violence towards her and was motivated by Mia's crying."

The NSPCC said the pair had abandoned their responsibility to Mia "with tragic consequences".

"Garner's brutality cruelly cut short the life of little Mia, subjecting her to horrendous abuse and neglect whilst, unbelievably, her mother stood by," the charity said.

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