Mother jailed for killing eight-month-old daughter

Kim Pilling
·2-min read

A woman has been jailed for five years and eight months after she killed her baby daughter.

Eight-month-old Francesca Haworth died in hospital after she was found unresponsive by the ambulance service at an address in Frederick Street, Blackpool, on November 7 2018.

A Home Office post-mortem examination found the cause of her death was suffocation.

Her mother, Caitlin Jones, 21, of Willowbank Avenue, Blackpool, was charged with murder in July last year but her later plea of guilty to manslaughter was accepted following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

Detectives investigating Francesca’s death seized a number of items including Jones’s phone and iPad.

Expert analysis of the devices established that several searches had been conducted related to suffocating babies and whether you could be prosecuted if your baby was found suffocated, said Lancashire Police.

Following sentencing on Thursday at Preston Crown Court, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Willis said: “Caitlin Jones was Francesca’s source of life and should have been her source of love. Sadly, she showed little regard for the welfare of her daughter that day.

“She has never given any explanation as to what she did to Francesca or indeed why.

“What we do know is that in the hours before Francesca’s death, Jones made a number of internet searches relating to suffocation of babies and whether or not she could be arrested for such an offence.

“Just after 7am that morning she made efforts to carefully delete those searches from her device before contacting the emergency services at 7.28am where she claimed to have only just found Francesca unresponsive with a blanket wrapped around her face.

“My thoughts remain with Francesca’s father and her family who have conducted themselves with great dignity at what has been a very sad, difficult and distressing time.”

Senior District Crown Prosecutor Isla Chilton from CPS North West said: “This was a tragic death of a young baby at the hands of her own mother. It was a deliberate and premeditated act by Caitlin Jones to suffocate her, and although she raised the alarm and called an ambulance by then it was too late.

“The forensic and pathology evidence proved that Francesca’s death was not an accident. We were also able to use the evidence that Caitlin Jones had been searching the internet for articles about babies dying from suffocation as proof that she had thought about and planned what she was going to do.

“Not only did the defendant try to deflect the blame from herself, she then put suspicion on to her partner for a considerable period of time by blaming him for the internet searches.

“Our thoughts are with Francesca’s family and everyone affected by this distressing case.”

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