Father weeps over 'smothered' daughter in Stockport

Image caption,
Bethany Kennerley was found dead in Ms Caudwell's home on 3 October last year

The father of a three-year-old girl who was allegedly killed by her mother wept in court as he spoke of the last time he saw her alive.

Helen Caudwell, 42, of Stockport, denies murdering Bethany by suffocating her with a cuddly toy in October 2009.

Mark Davies told Manchester Crown Court he had taken his daughter to the park the last time he saw her.

His affair with Ms Caudwell ended soon after Bethany was born but he still saw her regularly, he told the court.

Bethany was found dead on the morning of 3 October in a bedroom of Ms Caudwell's flat in Redwood Close, Cheadle Heath.

Her Piglet toy was lying next to her. Her saliva and blood were both found on the toy, the court heard previously.

'Perfect' relationship

Mr Davies described his daughter's relationship with Ms Caudwell as "perfect".

However, he told the court he did not know Ms Caudwell was leading a double life, and his daughter called two other men "Daddy".

Ms Caudwell was married to her first husband Ian for 20 years and they had three children, the court has heard.

In 2005 she had affairs with two men - Miles Kennerley and Mr Davies.

The court was told that when she fell pregnant later that year, Ms Caudwell told both of them they were the father.

Mr Caudwell was named on the birth certificate when Bethany was born in July 2006, and she called him "Daddy", the jury heard.

He helped to raise the child until the defendant married Mr Kennerley in May 2009, the court heard.

Ms Caudwell was divorcing Mr Kennerley when Bethany died, five months later.

'Backed into corner'

Neither man knew the real father was actually Mr Davies - proved in recent DNA tests, the court heard.

Mr Caudwell told the court his ex-wife was scared she would lose custody of her daughter to Mr Kennerley, who paid for Bethany's living costs.

He told the court he went to see his ex-wife the night Bethany died and that she was "upset" and felt "backed into a corner" after agreeing that Mr Kennerley could see his daughter the following day.

The jury heard that after he left, Ms Caudwell called her mother and said: "I just feel like doing away with myself."

The court also heard Ms Caudwell had attacked Mr Kennerley with a steak knife in an argument over his access to Bethany, two days before she died.

But Paul Reid QC, defending, denied this and said Mr Kennerley was using the allegation to show people his client was not fit to care for her daughter.

He said Mr Kennerley was "bullying, belligerent and controlling" towards Ms Caudwell.

The trial continues.

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