A mother of a toddler killed by her stepfather has announced an “infinite” sentence of leniency for him.
Hannah Butler, 29, was horrified after her ex Paul Marsh attacked little Jessica Dagleish after she refused to eat the lunch he made for her.
Marsh, 27, was sentenced to 11 years for the manslaughter of a three-year-old, but “will likely serve only six years.”
The home carer in the Marsh neighborhood beat little Jessica while her mother was at work about a case he called because she was sick.
He became angry after she didn’t eat a ham sandwich while he was trying to watch football scores on Sky Sports.
Marsh said Jessica fell down the stairs and he found her falling behind the railing on December 21, 2019.
He sent a text message to his mother Hannah detailing the ‘accident’ and she insisted he call 999 while she rushes home – although he calls a hospital visit ‘worthless’ means’.
Jessica – who had difficulty studying – was airlifted from Folkestone to King’s College Hospital in London, but died on Christmas Eve from traumatic brain injury caused by a cracked skull.
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Marsh’s account of what happened is unclear, prompting Kent Police detectives to investigate and arrest him afterward.
After a jury trial at Maidstone Crown Court, Marsh was jailed on December 20 last year – and Jessica’s grieving mother was “dumbfounded” by the verdict.
Hannah said: “I’m just worried that he’s had such a short prison sentence.
“It’s been 11 years but in fact he would serve six if that, it’s disgusting considering what he’s done to my daughter.
“He killed her in cold blood because he wanted to watch football on TV. I should never have allowed him around her, but I trusted him.
“She was extremely vulnerable, and he knew it. I thought he would be safe, I met him working in a care home, but how wrong I was.
“The trial proved that it wasn’t a one-off, he had hurt her before and ignored it because she used to bang her head a lot due to her disability.
“This has completely destroyed my confidence. I am starting an appeal for a proper sentence.
“I will not accept that the sentence he receives is consistent with his crime and I will not rest until we have justice.”
‘REALLY QUIET GUY’
Hannah began dating Marsh in February 2019 after first meeting at work in October 2017.
The couple moved in together in August 2019 and he was nice and caring at first to Jessica.
She said: “He’s a really quiet guy, he seems nice and nice. I never saw any difference, he kept his handsome act in front of me all the time.
“I have no reason to doubt. I even did a full background check on him before letting him meet Jessica.
“Jessica is my life, I would never intentionally put her at risk.”
On December 13, 2019 – just weeks before Marsh killed Jessica – Hannah received a call from her daycare who was concerned about bruises on her face.
Hannah added: “The hospital accepted it as due to her head-banging behavior as well as mine.
“Jessica had a lot of difficult behaviors, including pulling her hair back and burying her head in everything.
“She was undergoing due diligence at the time of her murder. Paul knew all about Jessica before we got together.
“I never thought about Paul hurting her. I went to the GP that weekend and had her put on a helmet to help cushion her head, I really think that’s all.”
On December 21, 2019, the sick Marsh went to the care home that he and Hannah both work for – so she could cover for him.
Hannah said: “He wasn’t even sick, he just couldn’t mind coming in. It was clear to me that he didn’t really enjoy our job, unlike me.
“So I let Paul take care of Jessica because I trusted him. It was the worst mistake of my life.”
At 3:15, Marsh texted her partner “you need to call me” just a few hours after she left for work.
He told the worried mother that her daughter had fallen down the stairs, but didn’t appear “worried” – so she dialed 999 and rushed home.
She said: “I went there when there were loads of medical staff there – all gathered around.
“Jessica was naked on the sofa. The case went to court why she wasn’t dressed, Paul said he would undress her to ‘check the bruise’ but that really didn’t. any meaning.
“He had first aid training, he knew he shouldn’t. Jessica was completely unresponsive, it was horrible. I was by my side.
“Before we went to the hospital, Jessica was put in an air ambulance, where he said, ‘I’m going down for this’.
“I didn’t think much of it at the time because I was so worried for her but then I suddenly realized that it was a really weird thing.”
‘SHE WAS MY ANGEL’
Marsh, from Sandgate, Kent, denied manslaughter and cruelty to the child in the weeks before her death.
Prosecutor Jennifer Knight QC said he told the mother there was nothing wrong with Jessica when he discovered the mysterious bruises on her body weeks before her death.
She told Marsh, “You know it’s no mystery because you caused the wound.”
The court heard Jessica – who is less than 3 feet tall and weighs just 2kg 11lbs – was born in February 2016 and has complex autism.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kimber, Senior Investigative Officer with the Kent and Essex Serious Crimes Department, said: “This is a tragic case in which a young girl was taken before her life was taken. it really started.
“Marsh was reluctant to get Jessica’s medical care on the day he caused these injuries and since then he has sought to evade justice by altering his account and lying about what really happened. happened that day.
“A meticulous investigation by my team, including sensitive interviews with several witnesses and careful analysis of complex medical evidence, resulted in Marsh being found guilty of manslaughter.
“I hope the jury verdicts and verdicts announced today give Jessica’s loved ones a little sense of closure as they continue to mourn her tragic death.”
Hannah and Jessica’s grandmother, Casey Jell, 49, has begun filing a motion to have Marsh’s conviction reviewed.
She said: “If I could say anything to him now, I would tell him I hate him. If he can’t cope, why doesn’t he just leave?
“He’s a big man, how could he attack her like that? Over a bread? Jessica doesn’t like sandwiches anyway.”
“I’ve always told him she’ll always live with me, I’ll never take care of her, and I think he hates it.
“In retrospect I think he was jealous because I spoiled her, I showered her with love, she was my baby.
“He always told me that I spoiled Jessica but she deserves a good life. And Jessica’s life deserves more than the punishment he received.
“He still doesn’t admit what he’s done or show any remorse. Just like Jessica’s disability, her life doesn’t matter.
“But she was an angel, she was my angel and now she’s gone.”
How can you get help?
Women’s Aid offers this advice to victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Reach out to charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services like SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Get familiar with Silent Solutions, report abuse without talking on the phone, dial “55” instead.
- Always keep some money with you, including change for pay phones or bus fares.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a less risky area of the house – for example, where there is an exit and access to the phone.
- Avoid kitchens and garages where there may be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you could get trapped, such as the bathroom or where you might get locked into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open to weekdays and weekends in times of crisis – email@example.com.
Women’s Aid offers a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am – 6pm and weekends 10am – 6pm.
You can also call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline toll-free on 0808 2000 247.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8217571/boyfriend-killed-disabled-daughterefused-eat-lunch/ My boyfriend killed my disabled 3-year-old daughter in cold blood after she refused to eat lunch