Dad who threw daughter into cot cleared of murder

Maisie Newell, who allegedly died as a result of injuries she sustained as a baby which left her dis

Maisie Newell, who died just before her 14th birthday in Terrington St Clement, near King’s Lynn. - Credit: PA

A father who threw his baby daughter into her cot more than 20 years ago has been cleared of her murder.

Dean Smith, 46, inflicted horrific head injuries to four-week-old Maisie Newell on August 26, 2000, from which she never recovered.

Maisie, who was adopted by another family, was left disabled and died on June 28, 2014, just before her 14th birthday in Terrington St Clement, near King’s Lynn.

Smith, now of Watford, Hertfordshire, had pleaded guilty to her manslaughter but denied murder.

On Monday, a jury at the Old Bailey found him not guilty of murder following a retrial.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC adjourned sentencing in the "difficult case" to November 12.

A court previously heard that at the time of the assault Smith was at the family home in Springwood Crescent in Edgware, north London, with Maisie and her older brother, who was 18 months old at the time, while Maisie’s mother Amanda Lee had gone to visit a friend at around 3pm.

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Smith had previously admitted tossing his daughter into her cot at the family home after she did not stop crying.

Maisie was born healthy, but after suffering the brain damage she subsequently suffered from fitting, episodes requiring constant care, and was fed throughout her life through a feeding tube.

Last September, a jury was unable to decide whether Smith was guilty of murder and jurors were discharged.

Jurors in that trial spent more than 11 hours deliberating following a lengthy trial, but were unable to reach a verdict.

The court heard how Smith had initially been jailed for three years in 2001 after admitting grievous bodily harm without intent.

Following Maisie’s death, Smith was arrested and bailed and in 2016 he was informed that police were taking no further action.

But in February 2019, five years after his arrest, he was charged with Maisie’s murder.

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