A thug has been jailed for life for murdering his girlfriend’s 22-month-old daughter while the mother of the slain child has been slammed as heartless for not taking action.
Tom Curd, 32, beat 22-month-old Eve Leatherland on several occasions and then tried to cover up her condition by “poisoning” her with a fatal dose of codeine, a court heard.
Tom Curd inflicted a number of fractures to the child’s skull and ribs in injuries similar to those caused by a car crash.
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.
As the child lay dying, instead of seeking medical help, Curd and the child’s mother Abigail Leatherland “watched TV, played video games, sent each other text messages and chatted to people on Facebook”. The child eventually died in their home in Liskeard, Cornwall.
Abigail eventually phoned 999, several hours after Eve had died and rigor mortis had already set in. Had the alarm been raised sooner, medical experts said Eve is likely to have survived.
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.
Curd was jailed for life today and told he will serve a minimum of 20 years while Leatherland was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Addressing Abigail 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.