Friday, 24 October 2008

Dad jailed for snapping tot's spine (ITV News Update)

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A father who murdered his 16-month-old daughter by snapping her spine after months of abuse has been jailed for life.
James Howson, 25, was told he will serve a minimum sentence of 22 years for killing his little girl Amy.
Amy's mother, Tina Hunt, was given a 12-month suspended sentence after admitting allowing the death of a child and child cruelty.
Sentencing him at Leeds Crown Court, judge Mrs Justice Cox, recounted how the defendant placed his daughter over his knee or other object and broke her back at their home while he was looking after her. He then sat with her body until the morning.
The judge said: "This was, in my view, a chilling and brutal attack.
"The bone was completely dislocated, resulting in spinal shock, rapid unconsciousness - mercifully - and to death."
She went on: "The jury was satisfied, on the clearest of evidence, that it was you who deliberately inflicted truly horrific injuries upon your defenceless little daughter, Amy, from which she died within a few hours."
The judge also detailed the other occasions in the weeks leading up to the murder in December last year when Howson "cruelly and deliberately assaulted Amy", leaving her with multiple fractures to her arms and legs.
Howson showed no emotion as he was led from the dock.
The judge said to him: "I have not seen the slightest evidence of remorse from you for what you did."
The court heard how Howson had a troubled history and had been violent towards women when he was young yet had no previous convictions.
Adrian Waterman QC, defending, told the court how, when Howson was expelled from school as a teenager, a teacher noted in a report: "This boy will commit a murder before too long. I've never seen a such a disturbed young man."
Hunt admitted the child cruelty charge on the basis that she did nothing to alert the authorities to her daughter's plight.
But the judge told her "level of culpability falls at the lowest end of the scale" after hearing how Howson completely dominated her and was often violent.She said Hunt was also in the lowest 1 per cent band of intelligence and that she had to balance the protection of children against the "pressures on immature and inadequate parents".
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