Paul Marsh jailed for killing Jessica Dalgleish after she refused to eat lunchon December 20, 2021 at 1:52 pm

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A court hears Paul Marsh inflicted catastrophic injuries on his girlfriend’s disabled daughter.

Paul Marsh

Image source, Kent Police

A man who killed his girlfriend’s three-year-old disabled daughter after she refused to eat her lunch has been jailed for 11 years.

Paul Marsh, 27, of Folkestone, Kent, inflicted catastrophic injuries on Jessica Dalgleish after he became angry and frustrated, a court heard.

He then tried to cover up the attack, claiming she’d fallen down the stairs.

Marsh was convicted of child cruelty and manslaughter at a previous hearing at Maidstone Crown Court.

Jessica died in hospital on Christmas Eve in 2019.

The court heard Marsh, a care worker, had thrown her very roughly and with considerable force, so her head hit a hard surface, which may have been the wooden bars of her cot, the floor, or the banister.

‘Pain and suffering’

Jessica’s mother called Marsh an “animal” and a “monster” in her victim impact statement.

“I beg that the monster who took her suffers every day of his miserable life,” she said.

“I will never recover from losing my baby, Jessica was a light in the world.”

Sentencing Marsh, the honourable Mr Justice Cavanagh said: “The whole family mourns the life that Jessica will not now have, and suffers from the trauma of knowing how she died.

“It is clear that the death of this lovely small child has caused great pain and suffering to a large number of people.”

Marsh was sentenced to nine years in jail for manslaughter and a further two years for child cruelty, to run consecutively.

Maidstone Crown Court

After Marsh was jailed, Det Ch Insp Neil Kimber, from Kent Police, said: “This is a tragic case in which a young girl has been robbed of her life before it had really begun.

“Marsh was reluctant to get medical attention for Jessica on the day he inflicted these injuries and he has since sought to evade justice by changing his account and lying about what actually happened on that day.”

The court heard Marsh had worked as a support assistant in a home for adults with profound learning difficulties.

But jurors were told that instead of calling 999, Marsh immediately tried to cover up what he had done.

Marsh, who was first-aid trained, had also moved her when he knew he shouldn’t, to help his false story that Jessica had fallen down the stairs, the judge said.

Following the hearing, a Kent County Council spokesman said the circumstances surrounding Jessica’s death were the subject of a multi-disciplinary review in January 2020 by the Kent Safeguarding Children Multiagency Partnership.

He said the learning from the review had already been fed into professional training, and a further report was expected early next year.

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