October 2016

Evil dad caged for killing tragic tot by lobbing her at sofa while high on cannabis


A TWISTED dad who spent the evening smoking cannabis before murdering his baby girl in a fit of rage has been jailed for a minimum of 18 years.

Shop worker John Burrill, 31, hurled nine-week-old daughter Daisy Mae Burrill across his lounge after her crying woke him up from a drug-induced sleep.

The youngster was killed on impact – suffering a fractured skull when her head hit a baby monitor and TV remote control left on Burrill’s sofa.

And sickeningly, he went outside to smoke another joint as his daughter lay dying with the fatal injury.

When he came back inside, Burrill – who spent up to £200-a-week on cannabis – found his daughter motionless in his front room.

A court heard how Burrill told the baby’s mum Ashlee Cox: ”If one of Daisy’s hairs is on the remote, they’ll try and pin it on me”.

Daisy was transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital but died three days later after her life support machine was switched off.

Doctors established she had brain damage and suffered a single impact injury to the left side of her head from a hard surface, causing a fracture.

She had injuries consistent with being shaken or being gripped by the legs and swung against a hard surface.

And doctors found fractures to her ribs which occurred some days before her death and damage to her calf, shin and thigh bones.

A post-mortem concluded she was subjected to significant violence and her injuries were non-accidental.

At Preston Crown Court, Burrill, from Fleetwood, Lancs, was convicted of murder after a nine day trial.

The dad previously admitted manslaughter but denied murder.

The jury heard the family lived in cramped conditions and slept in a single bedroom at their terraced house but Burrill squandered much of the couple’s money on smoking cannabis ”day and night”.

He would get stressed and punch walls but had not previously been violent to Miss Cox or the baby.

On the night before the tragedy last March, he had been smoking the drug but after going to bed he was woken up in the early hours by the baby crying.

He was up with Daisy-Mae for about 90 minutes to feed her but just 20 minutes after going back to sleep he was woken up again at 5am by her crying and he took the baby downstairs.

He put her in her Moses basket on a chair to see if she would settle before offering another feed – but when he switched on the TV news, the baby began to cry again provoking him to pick her up and throw her onto the settee.

Burrill then went into the kitchen and made a small cannabis joint which he smoked in the back garden before returning inside to watch TV.

John Burrill

He claimed he picked the baby up and could not feel her breathing and then returned to the bedroom looking ”stoned” holding a lifeless Daisy-Mae on his upturned palms.

He told the court: ”It plays on my mind every day. I would have thrown her quite forcibly.

“I know what I’m like when I lose my temper. I was tired. I had been up all night. I would say I was irritated and frustrated.

”I lost my temper a little bit, well quite a lot, to be honest. I just think the tiredness took over and I really lost my rag and I threw her down onto the couch.”

But after the case, Det Chief Insp Dean Holden, of Lancashire Police said: ”As Daisy Mae’s father John Burrill was in a position of trust – however, he abused this in a violent outburst which tragically led to her death.

“While we will never know exactly what happened, his actions showed a man with extreme disregard for his defenceless baby daughter.

“After being taken to hospital, medical experts agreed Daisy Mae had been critically injured. She had sustained a large fracture to the skull and injuries consistent with shaking.

“Burrill is clearly a dangerous individual whose shocking actions robbed a family of a loved one. While his conviction today will bring little comfort to Daisy Mae’s relatives, I hope it will go some way to assuring them justice has been achieved.”

Miss Cox, 29, was initially arrested after her daughter’s death but was subsequently freed without charge.

She said in a statement: “Daisy-Mae was taken from us at nine weeks old. She was a beautiful baby girl and a much-loved new addition to the family.

“Words cannot express the pain and anguish my family and I have endured since Daisy-Mae’s death. This suffering has been made worse by John Burrill’s refusal to admit that he alone was responsible for her death.

“Even though Daisy has gone, she will never be forgotten. She will be forever in our hearts and although justice has been served it will never bring her back. We would now ask that we are left in peace to finally grieve our loss.”