Beds, Herts & Bucks

Carl Wheatley jailed for life for murder of daughter

Alexa-Marie Quinn and Carl Wheatley Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption Carl Wheatley gained custody of his daughter on 30 December 2013

A man who beat his four-year-old daughter to death has been jailed for life.

Car Wheatley, 31, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, was found guilty of murder at St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday.

Alexa-Marie Quinn had 66 injuries including a bruise from her stomach to her ankles when she died last year.

Wheatley was told he will have to serve a minimum of 21 years in jail before being considered for release.

He had been awarded custody of Alexa-Marie in December 2013 - three months before he killed her.

Image copyright JOHN O REILLY
Image caption The jury heard Wheatley had multiple mental health disorders

He admitted manslaughter, but the jury rejected his plea of not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

'Dangerous and violent'

The jury was told Wheatley beat Alexa-Marie with "hard, sustained, persistent hitting" after losing his temper.

The blows were delivered with such force that fat deposits entered her bloodstream, blocking her lungs, and it was described as the culmination of a period of beatings lasting several weeks.

Police found her body on 12 March 2014 and a pathologist said she died from "extreme blunt-force trauma".

The jury was told that psychiatrists diagnosed Wheatley with multiple mental health disorders.

Prosecutor Christopher Donnellan QC said Wheatley dialled 999 on the morning of the fatal attack, but by the time paramedics arrived it was likely Alexa-Marie had been dead for hours.

Image copyright JOHN O'REILLY
Image caption The home on Queen Bee Court, Hatfield where Carl Wheatley's daughter received a fatal beating

Det Ch Insp Jerome Kent said: "No child should suffer in this way and it is right that Carl Wheatley, who is a dangerous and violent man, was found guilty of murder and sentenced accordingly."

Mother 'traumatised'

Adrian Foster, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Without any eyewitnesses, we needed lengthy and highly technical evidence from top medical experts to help provide an explanation as to why this little girl died."

Alexa-Marie had been removed from her mother's care some years earlier and had been living with foster parents in Bedfordshire before moving in with her father.

Hertfordshire County Council said there would be an independent review of all the care agencies involved in looking after Alexa-Marie.

Her mother issued a statement via Hertfordshire Police, in which she was not identified, which said: "Myself and my extended family have been deeply traumatised by what Carl Wheatley has done.

"How anyone could cause such pain and suffering to someone so young and so sweet is truly beyond me.

"She will never have the chance to make daisy chains or go to a school prom and we will never be able to celebrate happy occasions, such as birthdays, Christmas and Mother's Day, because of what this man has done."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites