Man convicted of manslaughter 20 years after assault on child

He was found not guilty of her murder

Published

A man has admitted his involvement in the death of a child following an assault more than 20 years ago.

Dean Smith, 46 , from Watford, had pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the manslaughter of Maisie Newell.

While he was found not guilty of her murder, he accepted charges of manslaughter. He will be sentenced later this year.

Smith assaulted his baby daughter on 26 August 2000 at the family’s home in Harrow when she was just four weeks old.

The father admitted throwing the new-born across the room into her cot after becoming frustrated at her crying while his partner was out of the house.

He and his partner had concocted a story that their older child, who was aged 18 months, had been responsible for Maisie’s injuries after dropping her on the floor.

This was inconsistent with her injuries and was picked up by the clinicians treating her.

In 2001, Smith, then aged in his mid-20s, was convicted of grievous bodily harm against Maisie and was then sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

The consequences of the attack for Maisie, who had been born healthy, were life changing and she was left with severe mental and physical disabilities.

Maisie sadly died at her home in Norfolk on 28 June 2014.

A post-mortem examination on 10 July 2014 recorded a causal link between her death and the assault committed against her in 2000.

A murder investigation was launched by detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Smith was arrested on suspicion of murder on 11 July 2014. He was released on bail and subsequently made the subject of no further action in March 2016.

In September 2020, he appeared for trial at the Old Bailey. The trial resulted in a hung jury and a retrial was scheduled.

Detective Sergeant Sarah Fisher, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “This was a horrendous act committed by Dean Smith on his four-week-old baby daughter. She lived for fourteen years severely disabled and in constant pain due to the traumatic head injury inflicted more than twenty years ago.

“With the love and support from her family in Norfolk, she was able to live a happy life.

“This has been a traumatic time for the family who having lost Maisie did not expect a murder investigation to take place, much less a retrial. My thoughts are with them today and I hope they can now move forward and feel justice has been done for Maisie.”

The family issued a statement that read: "Maisie sustained unspeakable injuries as a tiny, vulnerable, innocent baby. We adopted her when she was 20 months.

"It was clear from the start that the consequences of her injuries were going to be profound, life long and life limiting. We made a decision to commit to this beautiful little girl, to give her the best life we could, to maximise her potential and to love her unconditionally.

"Maisie had complex and profound needs that arose as a direct consequence of her sustained brain injury when she was 4 weeks old; epilepsy, cerebral palsy, unsafe swallow, visual impairment and profound learning difficulties.

"There was not a functioning piece of her that was unaffected- she lived with pain, very limited purposeful movement and no verbal communication. But despite all the challenges she endured and despite her poor start to life, Maisie remained a strong, vibrant personality who drew people to her with her most incredible smile.

"We gave her our best and she couldn’t have been more loved. We all continue to love and miss her. She was adored by us all and we will continue to do our best by ensuring justice prevails. She had no voice of her own, we will be her voice."