A man has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend’s 23-month-old daughter because she would not stop crying.
Jonathan Garner, 26, has been convicted of murdering Mia Gregson just weeks before her second birthday at her home in Hull, East Yorkshire, by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court.
Mia’s mother, Samantha Gregson, 26, sobbed in the dock as she was also found guilty of causing or allowing her daughter’s death on 13 February, 2014.
Prosecutors told the jury how neighbours “regularly, if not almost constantly” heard Garner shouting at the little girl in the weeks leading up to her death.
Robert Smith QC told the court that the shouting “took the form of threats of violence towards her and was motivated by Mia’s crying”.
The prosecutor said police were called to the house less than three weeks before Mia’s death following an anonymous call from a neighbour concerned about the “hideous” yelling.
Officers found Mia asleep and accepted Garner’s explanation that he had been shouting at the dog.
However the night before Mia died, a neighbour reportedly heard Garner shouting at the little girl: “Shut the up. Stop screaming at me. Get to bed.”
Mr Smith said the woman heard shouting again at 7am, saying: “I’m going to belt you.”
The prosecutor told the jury Garner killed Mia by smothering her.
He added: “The prosecution contend that Samantha Gregson must have been aware of Garner’s behaviour and threats he was making to her daughter and must have witnessed his behaviour.
“She did nothing about it and took no action to protect her daughter from what must have been an obvious risk.”
The jury deliberated for just under a day following an eight-week trial.
Thanking the jury, the judge, Mr Justice Goss, said it had been a “distressing case”.
Detective Superintendant Matt Baldwin, fromHumberside Police, said “numerous injuries” were found on Mia’s body, “making it evident that Mia had suffered severe abuse in the weeks leading up to her tragic death.”
Speaking after the convictions on Tuesday, he added: “While I am pleased they have both been convicted and justice has been achieved, sadly it does not bring Mia back. They have both consistently denied any involvement in Mia’s death.
“The abuse this little girl endured by those who were supposed to be caring for her is very upsetting to contemplate.
“Mia suffered tragically at Garner’s hands, while Gregson allowed weeks of neglect and abuse to go on against her daughter, leading ultimately to her tragic death.
“I am confident the result today will serve to protect any other children from the pair as they will both be behind bars.”
Garner and Gregson are expected to be sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday.