April 2018

“Deceitful” & “manipulative” mother jailed for a minimum of 21 and a half years

A “deceitful” and “manipulative” mother has been jailed for a minimum of 21 and a half years after murdering her seven-month-old baby and injuring another child.

Jennifer Crichton, 35, was sentenced to life in prison today

She was found guilty of the murder of her daughter Amelia as well as three counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and one count of child cruelty against another child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after a five-week trial at Preston crown court.

Crichton, of Leyland in Lancashire, had been arrested after the other child was seriously injured, years before the birth of Amelia, but was not charged until last year.

She appeared to show no emotion as she was sentenced. Mr Justice Holgate described her as “self-centred, deceitful, manipulative and lacking in any real remorse”.

Crichton was under a social services care plan devised by Lancashire county council and outsourced to a local social care provider at the time she attacked Amelia on 19 April.

The court heard that a social worker had visited Crichton before the attack on 19 April 2017.

During the visit, she had refused to take over feeding Amelia and instead went for a cigarette.

An hour and 20 minutes after the worker left, Crichton called 999 and told the call handler her daughter had stopped breathing.

The court heard she told a psychiatrist she had shaken Amelia three times before the baby slipped from her grasp on to a tiled floor.

But Holgate said expert evidence found a fracture to the baby’s skull showed she had suffered a strike of a “violent nature”.

He said: “I’m sure that the defendant either forced Amelia down to the ground or she struck her head on to a hard surface.” Amelia also suffered bleeding to the brain and injuries caused by having been shaken in a “vigorous and violent” way, Holgate added.

Amelia was rushed to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she died two days later after doctors concluded she would not recover from her “catastrophic” injuries.

Amelia was born prematurely at 24 weeks and spent six months in intensive care before going to live at home in Leyland.

She died in hospital two days after the attack. A post-mortem examination revealed she had died as a result of head injuries.

Brett Gerrity from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Amelia Crichton was a small, defenceless baby who suffered catastrophic injuries at the hands of her mother, who should have been caring for her and ensuring she didn’t come to any harm.

“Jennifer Crichton denied any responsibility for her death, even blaming an innocent person, until four weeks into the trial when she pleaded guilty to manslaughter. We did not accept the plea as we were satisfied that the injuries which led to her death were deliberately inflicted.

“The jury, having heard the evidence, agreed, and convicted her of murder.”

February 2018

Murdering mum’s past revealed as jury convicts her of attack on a child

A woman has been found guilty of murdering her “helpless and vulnerable” seven-month-old daughter.

Jennifer Crichton, 35, launched a “violent physical assault” on Amelia after a social worker left her alone with her daughter in Leyland, Lancashire.

Prosecutors said the baby suffered “catastrophic” head injuries.

Tests showed Amelia had suffered injuries including damage to nerve fibres in the brain stem, a complex skull fracture to the right side of Amelia’s skull and bleeding to her right eye.

The baby, who had spent six months in intensive care after being born prematurely, died two days later.

Preston Crown Court was told Crichton will be sentenced at a later date.

The court heard Amelia was born “on the cusp of life” at 24 weeks weighing 570 grams.

After she was discharged from intensive care, she lived with her mother under a care plan devised by Lancashire County Council.

On 19 April, a social worker visited Crichton at her home, the court heard.

Asked to take over feeding of the baby, Crichton replied: “No, you do it,” and went for a cigarette.

The social worker eventually left but an hour and 20 minutes later, Crichton called for an ambulance.

Amelia had suffered injuries including bleeding to the brain, damage to her brain stem and a fractured skull.

Paramedics resuscitated her on her way to Royal Preston Hospital, but she was transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for specialist treatment.

On 21 April, doctors concluded Amelia would not recover from her “catastrophic” injuries and withdrew life support.

Medical experts concluded she had faced a “violent physical assault” as a result of “striking or throwing” against a hard surface, and had been shaken.

Crichton offered no explanation, other than to say her baby had “collapsed”, the court heard.

She faces a mandatory life sentence, with the minimum term to be set after the judge hears the results of a psychiatric report.

Amelia’s grandmother Sally Quested said outside court: “Amelia fought really hard for life only for her mother to take it away from her.”