Leeds & West Yorkshire

Kayleigh Sheard: Parents jailed over baby's neglect in Cleckheaton

Daniel Sheard Image copyright Ross Parry
Image caption Daniel Sheard was jailed for six years for neglect of his baby daughter

The parents of a newborn baby found dead with extensive injuries, including bite marks and fractures, have been jailed for more than 10 years.

Daniel Sheard, 24, and Lucy Damen, 22, were jailed at Leeds Crown Court for the "wilful neglect" of their daughter Kayleigh Sheard in September 2013.

The 18-week-old was found dead in front of a gas fire, but experts could not establish how she died.

The judge said the pair had "no excuse" for failing to get medical help.

Sheard, who was found guilty of cruelty to a person under 16, was sentenced to six years and Damen to four-and-a-half. She admitted the offence.

Kayleigh was referred to social services in June 2013 by doctors at Dewsbury Hospital.

She was found dead at her home in Scholes, West Yorkshire in September that year.

Paramedics found her in front of a gas fire on its highest setting with extensive burns to her face, determined to have been caused after death.

'Kept from authorities'

The court heard her parents "manipulated the scene" because of a fear of social services. Sheard spent most of his young life in care.

Image copyright Ross Parry
Image caption A police officer outside the family's home in 2013

Judge Bayliss said: "You did this I am sure because you were fearful of social services and because you were having problems financially and socially, causing you to care more about yourselves than your daughter's welfare.

"It led to a situation were you were deliberately concealing that child from the authorities."

Kayleigh suffered a rib fracture less than 12 hours before she died, caused by "a clumsy attempt" to resuscitate her.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: "When you found her, albeit in a collapsed state, she was still alive. You tried to revive her but I am sure you both must have made a deliberate decision to not call an ambulance."

The court heard she suffered non-accidental fractures to her shoulder and arms and 16 fractured ribs.

Image copyright Ross Parry
Image caption Lucy Damen was sentenced to four and a half years in prison

Judge Bayliss said Kayleigh "went from being a healthy, happy baby" to a child failing to thrive.

He said the pair deliberately did not get medical attention when Kayleigh must have been in "significant pain".

He said: "The cause of death was not ascertained.

"You are not being sentenced for being responsible for or having caused her death.

"I cannot neglect the circumstances around her death and the failure to seek medical attention."

The pair have maintained their relationship since Kayleigh's death three years ago.

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