Man jailed for toddler punch murder


Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Michael Wild was found guilty of murder after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court

A man who repeatedly punched a toddler has been jailed for her murder.

Ella-Rose Clover was 22 months old when she died in 2018 due to internal bleeding and cardiac arrest after she was left alone in the care of Michael Wild.

Wild, 30, of Wythenshawe, Manchester, denied murder but was convicted after a six-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

He has been jailed for life with a 20-year minimum term.

The court heard Wild had assaulted Ella on previous occasions when she was left in the care of him and his partner Sharleen Hughes – the girl’s godmother.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Ella-Rose Clover’s mother said the toddler had been “betrayed in the worst possible way”

Hughes, 36, was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child and two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and is due to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Jurors were told that two months before Ella’s death, Wild had assaulted her leading to emergency surgery to remove part of her bowel.

Sentencing, Mr Justice King said: “This killing was the culmination of a course of conduct on your part going back many months.”

Wild, of Somerton Avenue, was left alone with Ella on 21 January last year while Hughes went out to do errands.

When she returned the toddler was collapsed on the sofa and later died in hospital from abdominal injuries.

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Sharleen Hughes is due to be sentenced on Wednesday

Ella’s mother Pagan Clover said in a statement that she had previously had to take her daughter to hospital with unexplained bruising.

“Sharleen came with me to some of the appointments, Mick even came along and saw me begging for answers from the hospital staff,” Ms Clover said.

“All along he knew what was going on and it sickens me now to think that he sat there watching me and seeing Ella suffer.”

Ms Clover said she had “trusted [Hughes] implicitly” and Wild “always seemed so nice and kind” but “they betrayed me and worst of all they betrayed Ella in the worst possible way”.

Det Ch Insp Colin Larkin, of Greater Manchester Police, said inflicting “such agony and trauma on a beautiful baby girl is beyond comprehension”.

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