A man has been jailed for life for the murder of his partner’s one-year-old daughter.
Jamie Chadwick, 22, was sentenced on Tuesday at Manchester Crown Court to life in prison, where he must serve a minimum of 18 years.
On 16 October last year, Chadwick was left alone with Orianna Crilly-Cifrova for about an hour before her mother, Chelsea Crilly, returned home and found the toddler “floppy” and “white”, strapped in her pram in the back bedroom.
Emergency services were called but Orianna died in hospital the following day.
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At the time of her death, Chadwick was being investigated by police on suspicion of causing serious injuries to another child, a six-month-old boy, referred to as Baby T, in July 2018, and had been told not to have unsupervised contact with children.
In early 2019, Chadwick began a new relationship with Crilly, Orianna’s mother, and they later moved in together to live with the defendant’s sister at her flat in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester.
Crilly, who was cleared on Monday of allowing the death of a child, accepted that she lied to social workers, a healthcare visitor, police officers and doctors about seeing Chadwick with Orianna.
Chadwick – who is not Orianna’s father – also played his part in the prolonged deception by telling his probation officer that he had no contact with the youngster, and on one occasion hid under a bed when social workers visited Miss Crilly at the address in Cross Lane.
The trial heard that Orianna suffered “awful injuries”, with her skull shattered from two “really heavy” blows to the back of her head, of similar force to a high-speed road accident or a multi-storey fall.
Her injuries could not have resulted from a single action, with good evidence that she had also been shaken, and represented more than a momentary loss of temper, said the judge.
Sentencing him at Manchester Crown Court to a life term, Mrs Justice Yip said Chadwick’s relationship with Crilly was a “source of concern to the authorities for good reason”.
She said: “It is, though, an important part of the background that, when you murdered Orianna, you knew full well that you were not allowed to have contact with children.
“It is also significant that you had discussed the reasons for the authorities’ concerns with Miss Crilly and had assured her that you would never harm any child.
“Sadly, Miss Crilly chose to believe you rather than follow the advice she was given by the professionals.
“As was clear when she gave evidence, that is a decision she will regret for the rest of her life.”
During the trial, Chadwick changed his defence that Orianna had fallen down stairs while he was on the toilet, and told the jury that Crilly had kicked her daughter, sending her “flying” into a television stand, and claimed she then made him take the blame.
Mrs Justice Yip told him: “The jury saw through your blatant lies. This was a cowardly final effort by you to escape the consequences of what you had done. It can only have served to increase her distress.”
She said Chadwick’s mild learning disability could offer no explanation for the “violent murder of a blameless one-year-old child”.
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