A brute addicted to steroids was today convicted of murdering an innocent toddler left in his care dispite fears for her safety being repeatedly raised and ignored.
Maya Chappell, two, suffered frequent assaults at the hands of her mother’s new boyfriend Michael Daymond, 27, leaving bruises all over her body until the day he shook her to death while in a bad mood over losing his benefits.
The vulnerable youngster should never have been left in his sole care, but Maya’s mother, Dana Carr, 24, was so ‘infatuated’ with Daymond she ignored warnings about the abuse he was cruelly inflicting and even covered it up to protect him.
Today, Carr wept in the dock at Teesside Crown Court as a jury found her guilty of child cruelty and allowing a child to die in her care. Daymond was convicted of murder and child cruelty.
The case involved a disturbing series of missed chances to save Maya – with Carr turning a blind eye to family worries about the child’s mistreatment.
Daymond, 27, attacked two-year-old Maya (pictured) with such force that damage found in her eyes was similar to that suffered by people in car accidents or who had fallen from a tall building, Teesside Crown Court was told
Daymond, 27, will be jailed for life after he murdered his partner’s toddler by shaking her to death after learning his Universal Credit had been stopped
Carr, 24, was convicted of child cruelty by neglect and allowing the death of a child
The girl’s father James Chappell, 25, was so concerned about the evidence of mistreatment before his eyes that he raised the alarm to Carr.
He even made a ‘Sarah’s Law’ inquiry to police to discover if Daymond had a history of abusive behaviour towards children, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Mr Chappell had been in a relationship with Carr, a care coordinator, for four years when Maya was born.
Giving evidence, she described him as a ‘brilliant dad’ but said their relationship was ‘awful’ and they split.
Carr had been single for a while when she met Daymond in July last year through doing work at a friend’s pub. He regularly delivered gas bottles to the premises.
She fell head over heels, describing Daymond as ‘lovely and caring’. The court heard nine weeks after they got together Daymond killed Maya.
During the trial, the court heard how Maya had been left alone with Daymond at their home in Shotton Colliery, County Durham, when Carr went to work on 28 September last year.
On that day, Daymond had learned his Universal Credit had been stopped. He repeatedly tried to call the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and went on its website.
At 3.37pm he phoned Carr to tell her to come home and seconds later dialled 999. When police officers arrived ten minutes later Maya appeared lifeless on the bedroom floor.
Home Office Pathologist Dr Louise Mulcahy, concluded Maya (pictured) died after being ‘subjected to a blunt force plus or minus a blunt force impact to the head and forceful blows to her abdomen’
The court heard how the youngster was terrified of Daymond, and was filmed trying to crawl under the family TV to get away from him.
Daymond even called the DWP again when paramedics were fighting to save Maya’s life. However, her injuries were unsurvivable.
She was flown to hospital by air ambulance in a critical condition and died two days later when life support was switched off.
Daymond claimed he was playing on a computer game in another room when he heard a bang and found Maya laid on the floor and presumed she had fallen out of bed.
He told police: ‘I couldn’t and wouldn’t hurt her.’
But Home Office Pathologist Dr Louise Mulcahy, who conducted the post mortem, dismissed his explanation.
She concluded the toddler died after being ‘subjected to a blunt force assault likely comprising shaking plus or minus a blunt force impact to the head and forceful blows to her abdomen.’
She also found around 50 bruises and marks on her body.
The court heard how the appearance of unexplained bruises in the month before the fatal attack caused her father and other relatives to be concerned for her welfare.
Mr Chappell was alarmed by bruising on Maya’s face, which Carr claimed was the result of a fall.
Multiple family members raised concerns about Maya’s welfare with Maxine Shorten, her great aunt, so concerned she phoned social services
Maya Chappell, two, suffered frequent assaults at the hands of Daymond. She was found with around 50 bruises and marks on her body
Carr then sent a text to her mother asking what caused the bruising as the girl had stayed with her overnight. The court head she was seeking to pass on blame for the injuries.
The mother later told Mr Chappell her faced was bruised by a park slide, but he didn’t believe her as they were the shape of adult fingers.
Mr Chappell also heard about threats to Daymond due to debts and made a Sarah’s Law request to police due to his growing concerns.
Carr covered up for her boyfriend and lied to Mr Chappell by claiming she was no longer with Daymond. She told him: ‘He isn’t here James, nor do I plan on having him anywhere near me or Maya.’
Carr’s stepfather, Chris Fellows, was the next to raise concerns with the mother over bruises on Maya’s body noticed at bath time.
Mr Chappell was told Maya was ‘hitting herself.’ Another family member was told the bruises were down to ‘bumping into furniture.’
In the days before her death, Carr cancelled Mr Chappell’s contact with Maya, pretending she was ill. She also kept Maya off nursery, claiming she was on antibiotics.
More bruises were noticed when Maya spent the weekend with her grandmother and Mr Chappell. Maxine Shorten, Carr’s great aunt, told the court she was so concerned about bruising she made the decision to inform social services.
On the Monday Maya was again kept off nursery, fearing the bruises would trigger a report to social services. The day before the fatal attack, Carr went to work when Daymond was looking after Maya.
He sent a photo showing numerous bruises on the little girl.
Daymond texted: ‘Babe I really hope you don’t think I’m doing this to her.’
Carr replied: ‘I would never ever think that’.
The court heard how Carr refused to disclose any details to police about her muscular new lover – effectively condemned little Maya to death.
The court heard at the time of the murder in September last year, another woman texted him to say she had gone into labour with his baby. Daymond set up a profile for the dating site ‘Plenty of Fish.’
Meanwhile, Daymond, a self-confessed user of steroids, had also been chased for ‘drugs debts.’
He fell out with his mother and stepfather for a while as people kept turning up at their door in Sunderland to collect payment.
As a result they had windows broken, paint thrown across their home, and fuses stolen, leaving them without electricity.
Sentencing was adjourned but Daymond, who was remanded in custody, will be given a mandatory life term.
Carr was released on bail.