Lia Green: Parents jailed over daughter's death

Richard Green and Natalie Critchley
Image caption Richard Green and Natalie Critchley were both jailed at Preston Crown Court

The parents of a three-year-old girl who died of massive internal injuries have been jailed over her death.

Three-year-old Lia Green died on 30 August of injuries caused by a severe blow to the abdomen.

Richard Green, 23, of Harling Road, Preston, was sentenced to seven years after admitting manslaughter two weeks into his trial at Preston Crown Court.

Her mother Natalie Critchley, 21, of Norris Street, Preston, was jailed for 21 months for child neglect.

The court heard she failed to seek prompt medical attention for Lia which would have "almost certainly" saved her life.

Green had lashed out in anger at the three-year-old as he resented looking after her on his own, the court was told.

He was also angry at Critchley, whom he suspected was having an affair at the time.

'Lost all control'

Emergency services were called to Lia's home after her parents said she was suffering from sickness and diarrhoea and was weak and falling asleep.

Image caption Lia Green was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Preston Hospital

She was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Preston Hospital.

A post-mortem examination found that part of her bowel had been severed by the force of the blow inflicted on her.

Sentencing Green, Mr Justice MacDuff said: "You lost all control. You hit, or perhaps kicked, Lia so violently that you caused the perforation of her duodenum.

"The force required to do that is immense."

He added to his "wickedness" by then not calling an ambulance in the hours that followed, said the judge.

Critchley also failed to seek help when she realised Lia was hurt and joined him in covering up the injuries through "mistaken loyalty" to try to protect Green rather than her daughter.

The judge told the defendants that, after an ambulance was eventually called, they had "jointly concocted a series of breathtaking lies to save your own skins".

One such story they told detectives was that Lia had fallen off a swing.

Victim of abuse

The judge told Critchley: "You did play roulette with her life. You did not want to have to explain how she came to suffer her dreadful injuries and you hoped she would recover."

The trial heard that Critchley had begun seeing another man and Green discovered what was going on in the weeks before Lia was killed.

Anthony Cross QC, defending Green, said: "I suppose it is not a surprise that at some stage this young father would use violence to his own child because, sadly, he was himself the victim of extensive abuse as a child which led to him being taken into care."

Neil Flewitt QC, for Critchley, said his client's conviction "does not diminish the grief she feels towards the loss of that child".

Both defendants will serve half their sentences in custody, less time spent on remand, and the remainder on licence.

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