Thug who murdered his girlfriend’s 22-month-old daughter is jailed for life
A judge has slammed a heartless mother who went on Facebook as her baby lay dying following beatings from her violent boyfriend.
Tom Curd beat 22-month-old Eve Leatherland, then tried to cover up her condition by 'poisoning' her with a fatal dose of codeine, a court heard, Daily Mail reported.
The 32-year-old inflicted multiple fractures to the yonungsters's her skull and ribs in injuries similar to those caused by a car crash.
But, instead of seeking the medical help that would have saved her, Curd and Eve's mother Abigail Leatherland, 'watched TV, played video games, sent each other text messages and chatted to people on Facebook' as she died in their home in Liskeard, Cornwall.
By the time the mother eventually phoned 999, Eve had been dead for several hours and rigor mortis had already set in. Had the alarm been raised sooner, Eve is likely to have survived.
Curd was jailed for life today and ordered to serve at least 20 years. Leatherland got three and a half years.
Tom Curd beat little Eve then tried to cover up the attacks by giving her codeine. Mother Abigail Leatherland did nothing to save her daughter as she lay dying in a dirty cot
Addressing Leatherland today, judge Mrs Justice Juliet May said: 'You didn't cause Eve's death but allowed it to happen. I can't find that it is a momentary or brief lapse.
'Multiple incidents of serious violence were inflicted by Curd and to cause them he must have used significant force. You (Leatherland) did not take any steps to protect Eve.
'I do believe you weren't aware of the risk caused by Thomas Curd and up to that week you cared for your children and they were both happy and healthy.
'I bear in mind your remorse and the greatest punishment will be that you failed your daughter when she needed you and had you acted she'd still be alive.'
Curd was convicted of murder by a jury while Leatherland was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child after murder charges against her were dropped during the trial.
Addressing Curd, judge May said: 'You willfully failed Eve over and over again. You assaulted her and gave her codeine.
'For much of the time during her final days Eve was lying on a dirty mattress with no cover. It was a bleak, disorientating and comfortless way for her to go.'
The broken cot the 22-month old baby slept in (pictured left)
Her broken cot and damaged mattress were both discovered in a pile of clutter in the garden
During the trial, the jury was told Eve had more than 20 bruises and abrasions to her head and some to her body, as well as a fracture to her skull and had no trace of food in her stomach.
Prosecuting, Sean Brunton said: 'All the while neither of them did a thing to help her.
'In fact, they seem to have spent the majority of the time simply watching TV, playing video games, sending each other text messages and chatting to people on Facebook, just feet away from where Eve was weakening and then dying on her bed.'
Mr Brunton told the court it was 'inconceivable' in such a small house that they failed to become aware of Eve's deteriorating condition and that it was their choice to turn a blind eye.
Eve had been the victim of at least two assaults and suffered injuries the court heard were most commonly associated with a road traffic crash.
But instead of being given a small dose of medication to alleviate her suffering she was given so much codeine that she had enough in her system to kill an adult.
The jury heard that the toddler's arm was stiff and paramedics thought rigor mortis may have already set in.
Giving evidence, Leatherland said Eve had been ill in the weeks prior to her death and that she had attributed her condition to a viral infection.
She said that Curd had been left alone with Eve whilst she did the nursery runs in the days before the toddler's death.
Eve's mother Abigail, pictured, was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child
When Curd gave evidence, he also denied he had ever hurt the toddler.
He disputed claims from his ex-partner Neeve Lovejoy-Thurley that he shook and screamed at his biological son and that he once mistook a lipstick kiss mark on his son for an injury he thought he had caused.
The jury took just three hours to convict the pair after a two and a half week trial. The pair returned to court for sentencing this morning.
The barrister said Leatherland can't provide an explanation for what happened.
After the case, police released a series of shocking pictures showing the dilapidated cot which Eve was sleeping in and the squalid conditions where she was found.
Speaking outside court, Eve's father Dean Bird said he wanted to 'rip off the head' of the pair responsible for his little girl;s death.
He said he locked eyes with Curd during the trial and said: 'I was really angry, I just wanted to rip their heads off.
'I had all sorts of emotions going on and before the trial I didn't know everything about the case and all of Eve's injuries.
'I looked at him (Curd) a couple of times and the anger just boiled up inside me. I saw him looking at me and we locked eyes.
'Now I've got to win the rights for Eve's body so I can lay her to rest properly.'
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