The father of a “brave and beautiful” girl, who died nearly 14 years after being thrown into a cot as a baby, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
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 severely disabled and died on June 28 2014, just before her 14th birthday.
Smith had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and was acquitted of her murder following a trial at the Old Bailey in September.
On Wednesday, Maisie’s adopted parents watched by video link as Smith was sentenced at the Old Bailey.
In a victim impact statement read to court, Maisie’s adopted mother Tracey Newell described her as “the most beautiful person” with an “amazing smile”.
She said: “Maisie always had the ability to draw people to her, she was like sunshine, radiant and bright.
“Whilst her body was so damaged, her soul remained intact.”
She said that Maisie showed how to be “truly joyful in the face of adversity”.
Mrs Newell said: “We adopted her aged 20 months after she sustained unspeakable injuries as a tiny innocent baby.
“It was clear from the start the consequences of her injuries would be profound, life-long and life-limiting.
“She could never escape the consequences of what had happened to her.
“The damage to her brain was catastrophic, irreversible and life-changing. Her life was a struggle, dominated by the disabilities she had as a consequence of the assault she sustained.
“Maisie fought a very brave battle and she remained brave even during her final weeks.
“She should have had a safe, happy childhood.
“The world should have been her oyster, but instead she was robbed of all those opportunities.”
I think I’m a lowlife scumbag. I cannot believe I did it. I’m disgusted in myself. I wish it was me, not her
Dean Smith to the jury
Mrs Newell added that the family was “pleased her story has finally been heard in court”.
Jailing Smith, Judge Mark Lucraft QC said one of the aggravating features of the case was that Smith and his then-partner concocted lies about what happened to Maisie, even blaming another child for causing the injuries.
The judge also acknowledged Mrs Newell’s “moving” statement, saying it was an “extraordinary” case.
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.
Giving evidence in his Old Bailey murder trial, Smith described himself as a “lowlife scumbag”.
He told jurors he had asked his partner not to go out on the day of the incident because he was feeling “anxious” and “on edge”, and did not want to be left with a “screaming baby”.
He had admitted tossing his daughter 6ft into her cot at the family home in Edgware, north London, after she did not stop crying.
After fatally injuring Maisie, stonemason Smith lit a cigarette, drank a beer and played on his PlayStation until his partner returned home and noticed she was “pale”.
Initially, Smith kept quiet about what happened and when he did eventually tell his partner, they concocted a lie, blaming another child for causing the injuries, the court was told.
On learning of Maisie’s death nearly 14 years later, the defendant said he “broke down”.
He told jurors: “I think I’m a lowlife scumbag. I cannot believe I did it. I’m disgusted in myself. I wish it was me, not her.”
Jurors were told that Smith had an anti-social personality disorder associated with impulsivity, poor emotional regulation and increased hostility towards others.
Detective Sergeant Sarah, of Scotland Yard, said: “Instead of the healthy life that Maisie should have lived, she was sentenced, by virtue of Smith’s actions, to a short life of severe disability and pain.
“I hope that this is something Smith reflects upon as he begins his own sentence.
“Maisie was supported and loved by her adoptive family in Norfolk. This entire process has been traumatic for them, after losing Maisie they did not expect a murder investigation to take place, much less a retrial.
“My thoughts are with them today and hope that the sentence handed down brings them a measure of closure.”