Category: Women who Kill


A mother accused of covering up the murder of her six-year-old daughter claims the girl suffered a fractured skull while being looked after by her grandparents or the local authority.

Jennie Gray, 36, told the Old Bailey she had information that her child, Ellie Butler, received a head injury during the five years she was fostered by Gray’s parents, Neal and Linda Gray.

“There’s evidence Ellie had a fractured skull before she even returned to mine and Ben’s care and the grandparents and social services never said she had a fractured skull,” she said.

Her claim echoes one made by her partner, Ben Butler, 36, who is also on trial charged with murder in relation to Ellie’s death in October 2013.

Ellie was removed from their care, aged six weeks, and went to live with her maternal grandparents. She was returned to Butler and Gray in November 2012 following a bitter legal battle.

Gray has been accused in court of allowing her “devotion” to her violent partner to override concern for the daughter Butler allegedly killed in a fit of rage.

Gray told jurors she still loves Butler and has visited him in prison almost 200 times since he was charged with Ellie’s murder in March 2014.

“Since that point you have visited him, certainly once a week, sometimes more than once a week and a total of 190 visits,” said the prosecutor Ben Fitzgerald.

“During the currency of this trial, since the beginning of April you continued to visit him every week. Why is that?”

Gray replied: “Because Ben is my family … Yes I do love him.”

The couple have been charged with child cruelty in relation to an untreated broken shoulder that pathologists discovered in the postmortem. They deny all charges.

The couple have admitted delaying calling 999 over fears that Butler would be blamed for harming Ellie as he had in 2007 when she was a baby.

Then he was jailed for assaulting Ellie in what appeared to be a case of shaken baby syndrome, but was later cleared by the court of appeal.

Gray has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by lying to police and covering up the circumstances of her daughter’s death but told the jury she did so because she feared Butler would be framed again.

Turning to the stream of abusive texts Butler sent Gray in 2013, Fitzgerald put it to her: “You have always maintained that Ben Butler has not been violent. You have always been hiding the truth. Because once you have admissions of him being violent, you would destroy any chance of you keeping [Ellie] and maintaining your relationship with him.”

Gray replied: “Ben was not violent to me and he certainly was not violent to my [daughter] and I maintain that 100%.”

She told jurors he was a “laddie man” who could be violent to other men when he was out but not to her. Asked if Butler had a temper, Gray said: “I have a temper. You have a temper. We all have a temper.”

Butler is charged with murder, which he denies. The pair have been charged with child cruelty, which Gray denies.

The trial continues.

Source: Mother of Ellie Butler says child’s skull injuries occurred in foster care | UK news | The Guardian

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Rachel Trelfa admitted it was “a possibility” that her two-year-old, Liam Fee would be “alive” today if she had taken him to hospital for treatment for a broken leg.

The High Court in Livingston heard that despite suspecting her son had a broken leg for several days, she went to look after her horse for three hours on the day that the the child died.

She is on trial alongside her lover, Nyomi Fee.

The mother denied returning from the stables on the day of her son’s death and “striking him so hard you ruptured his heart”.

She also denied allegations of abusing two other boys, one of whom the couple are accused of falsely blaming for Liam’s death.

Trelfa, 31, became emotional when telling the court about the night Liam died.

She said Fee, 28, screamed for her to come to his bedroom where she was trying to get him out of his buggy and she fell to the floor.

The pair deny murdering Liam at a house near Glenrothes in Fife by repeatedly inflicting “blunt force trauma” to his head and body, and say another boy is to blame for the toddler’s death.

Source: Mother accused of murdering son admits ‘completely failing him’ | UK | News | Daily Express

A woman who battered a toddler to death months after she was made the child’s legal guardian has been found guilty of murder.

Eighteen-month-old Keegan Downer, born Shi-Anne, collapsed at the family home in Birmingham on 5 September 2015.

A post-mortem revealed she died from a combination of septicaemia, infection, blunt chest trauma, and old head injuries.

Her 34-year-old foster mum, Kandyce Downer, of Beckbury Road, Weoley Castle in Birmingham, denied murder and causing or allowing the death of a child.

After almost three hours of deliberations, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court returned a verdict of guilty on both counts.

Medical professionals discovered more than 200 injuries on Keegan’s body, including seven recently broken ribs.

She had also suffered an untreated spiral leg fracture that had left the child deformed with one leg shorter than the other.

Medical evidence heard during the trial suggested the injury would have left Keegan in “excruciating pain”.

Experts said her broken ribs would also have made breathing very painful.

In addition to this, Keegan had suffered a head injury, at least several days old, which had “compromised” her ability to fight infection.

The court heard the toddler also had 153 scars on her body, including her face and neck.

Keegan was born to a heroin addict mother on 9 March 2014 and was placed into foster care soon after.

The court was told that for the first 10 months of her life, she thrived and “was doing everything expected of her and more”.

In January 2015 she went to live with Kandyce Downer who became the child’s legal guardian.

At first the child was “healthy and happy” while living with Ms Downer, who was studying a full-time business course.

In the three months before her death, Keegan was not seen by any independent care professional, including medical staff or social services.

The prosecution claimed that instead of calling 999 when she discovered Keegan “was dying or already dead”, Downer drove away to dump the child’s blood-spotted mattress near a skip.

When she returned she called emergency services telling them: “My daughter is not breathing”.

When paramedics arrived Downer said she did not know when the toddler had stopped breathing because she had been in the bath.

“The likelihood is that Keegan was already dead when paramedics arrived,” Nigel Power QC told the jury.

Downer later told a paramedic at hospital she had left the child alone in the morning.

While living in foster care for the first ten months of her life Keegan, who was known as Shi-Anne, thrived.

Darren Mahon was involved in the child’s care at that time and told Sky News the toddler was “meeting all of her goals” and “was happy and smiley”.

“I feel devastated, heartbroken,” he said.

“It’s like my heart has split into two. I would never expect Shi-Anne to be hurt the way she has been. It should never have happened.

“I cant understand why. There’s no reason for doing that to her. She was not a child who you would even shout at.

“Her smile, her eyes, you just had to look at her beautiful eyes and you knew that she was so happy, they just sort of shone.

“I can’t understand why anyone would want to hurt her.”

In court, Keegan’s body was described as having been subjected to “repeated episodes of inflicted injury and apparent neglect”.

In a twist during the trial Ms Downer told the jury her eldest son may be to blame for the child’s fatal injuries.

She said most of the “day-to-day” care of Keegan was down to her son and three younger children.

At the end of the trial the prosecuting barrister, Nigel Power QC said: “Tragedy is a word overused these days. It’s not an overused word for this case.”

Detective Inspector Harry Harrison from West Midlands police described the case as “shocking”.

“For somebody, on first appearance, who was an experienced and loving mother and well educated, the only way I can describe what she did to Keegan was barbarbic, inhuman and downright evil.”

“We can’t figure out why she did it.”

Now that the court case has ended, the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board says an independent review will be completed to work out what lessons can be learned.

“On behalf of all the agencies who sit on the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board I would like to express our deepest sympathy to Shi-Anne’s birth family and to those who knew and loved her,” the board’s chair Penny Thompson CBE said in a statement.

The findings of the review will be published in the summer.

Source: ‘Barbaric’ Foster Mum Guilty Of Toddler Murder

A WOMAN who cut a baby out of a stranger’s womb in a horror attack which nearly killed the expectant mother has been jailed for 100 years.

Dynel Lane, of Colorado, was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy following the gruesome attack.

Jurors earlier heard how Lane went to elaborate lengths to feign her own pregnancy before attacking Wilkins.

Lane even posted photos of herself with a distended stomach and showed off ultrasound images downloaded from the internet.

Lane, 36, lured, Michelle Wilkins to her home with an ad for maternity clothes before launching the horrifying attack in March 2015.

David Ridley, who lived with Lane and her two daughters, testified at trial that Lane claimed for more than a year that she was expecting a boy.

Friends even threw a baby shower.

Ridley had grown suspicious by the time Lane lured Wilkins to her home.

Michelle Wilkins testified she chatted for about an hour with her attacker before she hit, pushed and tried to choke her, then used two kitchen knives to cut the baby from her womb.

When Ridley came home early from work that day to meet Lane for a doctor’s appointment, he said he found the baby in the bath and drove the child and Lane to a hospital, where she begged staff to save her baby.

Jurors did not hear that in 2002, Lane’s 19-month-old son drowned in what investigators ruled was an accident.

Relatives who spoke on Lane’s behalf before the sentencing said her remorse over losing her son may have led her to take an action they could not understand or explain.

Lane’s attorneys did not dispute that she attacked Mrs Wilkins, but they argued there was no evidence it was a calculated murder attempt.

They urged jurors to convict Lane of the lesser charge of attempted manslaughter.

Judge Maria Berkenkotter said the harshest sentences for the most serious charges were justified by the brutality of the attack.

She sentenced Lane to 48 years for attempted murder and 32 years for unlawful termination of a pregnancy. The remainder of her sentence was for assault charges in the attack.

Source: Woman who cut baby from stranger’s womb sentenced to 100 Years

A woman who stabbed a teenager through the heart during a “pointless” row over stolen pasta is facing life in prison after being found guilty of his murder.

Maxine Benson, 32, knifed 18-year-old Alfie Stone in the street as he desperately tried to use a chip shop advertising board to protect himself.

The violent outburst came after an argument over pasta swiped from her kitchen spilled out into the streets of Ickenham, west London.

Benson believed Alfie or his brother Jake had eaten the food while visiting their bedsit two days earlier, and she lashed out with a knife to inflict a serious chest wound and pierce Alfie’s heart.

The teenager, from Hillingdon, bled heavily from the wound and died a short time later in hospital.

Benson had already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and an Old Bailey jury today found her guilty of murder. Co-defendants Corine Cripps, 29 and Steve Hawgood, 28, were cleared of murder, but the jury is continuing to deliberate over an alternative charge of manslaughter.

It was alleged they chanted “stab ‘im, stab ‘im” while Benson wielded the knife.

Source: Alfie Stone murder: Woman facing life in prison for stabbing teenager to death in row over pasta | Crime | News | London Evening Standard

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