Cornwall

Eve Leatherland: Mum's partner guilty of murdering child

Eve Leatherland Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Eve Leatherland's injuries including a fractured skull, fractured ribs and a ruptured liver

A man has been found guilty of repeatedly beating and poisoning his ex-partner's 22-month-old daughter.

Eve Leatherland had multiple fractures and a fatal dose of codeine in her system when she was found "stiff" in her bed in October 2017.

A jury took just three hours to convict Thomas Curd, 31, of murdering the toddler at Truro Crown Court.

Her mother Abigail Leatherland, 26, was found guilty of causing or allowing her death but acquitted of manslaughter.

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Thomas Curd repeatedly beat and drugged his partner's 22-month-old daughter

During the trial, jurors saw a number of photos and videos taken by the defendants that showed Eve looking extremely unwell in the days before her death in Liskeard, Cornwall.

They also saw pictures of her blood-stained mattress.

Prosecutor Sean Brunton QC said Eve's injuries were "most commonly associated" with a car crash.

The court heard Eve's ribs and skull were fractured and refractured in "at least three" attacks, and she was poisoned with the painkiller in an attempt to mask the injuries.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Abigail Leatherland was cleared of murder and manslaughter but found guilty of causing or allowing Eve's death

The court heard Eve had almost certainly been dead for several hours before her mother dialled 999 on 5 October 2017.

Leatherland told 999 staff that Curd had "just been to check" on Eve and discovered she was not breathing.

The paramedics who arrived two minutes later questioned this version of events after discovering that Eve's arms, legs and mouth appeared stiff.

Mr Brunton said neither of the defendants "did a thing to help her" but instead seemed to have been playing video games, taking selfies, watching TV and sending messages "just feet away from where Eve was weakening and then dying on her bed".

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption The court heard that the defendants took selfies and played video games as Eve died

Speaking outside court, Det Insp Steve Hambly said: "Today's verdict marks the end of an 18-month investigation into some really quite harrowing circumstances.

"We're talking about a 22-month-old child who within her own home has been repeatedly assaulted.

"What has made this investigation particularly tough is that we know whilst those assaults and the poisoning of Eve took place, there were only two adults present and neither adult was able to help us in what had happened or even who had done what."

The pair will be sentenced on Friday.

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