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Young woman convicted in three-month-old daughter's death case charged with abuse of her second child
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Young woman convicted in three-month-old daughter's death case charged with abuse of her second child

The Malaga prosecution team is seeking a sentence of five years in prison for the woman, her mother and her ex-partner for the fracture injuries suffered by the child in the latest incident

Juan Cano

Malaga

Friday, 31 May 2024, 13:26

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Threee people in Malaga are accused of mistreating a three-month-old child, who is alleged to have suffered broken legs, and are due to face trial. The parents, who are no longer together, and the baby's maternal grandmother will sit in the dock. The Malaga Public Prosecutor's Office is asking for the same sentence - five years in prison - for each of them for a continuous crime of injury.

It so happens that the mother, who is Spanish and in her thirties, already has a conviction for the death of another baby, a three-month-old girl who died with signs of severe malnutrition and trauma.

The first case occurred in 2016. A young man got on a bus in Malaga with his unresponsive daughter in his arms and went to the hospital. When he arrived at the emergency department, the little girl was already dead.

The paediatricians activated the protocol on suspicion of child abuse and quickly alerted the National Police, who arrested the father on the spot and searched for the mother, who claimed she was at work. She was also arrested.

The couple, in their early twenties, were remanded in custody in view of the findings of the autopsy and the visual inspection of the house, a rented house in the Puerto de la Torre neighbourhood, which was unhygienic and unsanitary.

The parents were sentenced in December 2018 to 20 years' imprisonment for the crime of murder - with treachery exploiting vulnerability - with the aggravating circumstance of kinship. The jury concluded that “they did not intend to cause the death of their daughter”, but that they “were aware” that they were providing her with insufficient food for her to survive.

The court ruling highlighted “the situation of absolute defencelessness” of the baby and recalled that the two parents were “the only people in charge of caring for her”. Despite this, they continued to feed her insufficiently and did not seek medical assistance, according to the court ruling, which stated: “They were indifferent to the fact that she might die.”

The little girl was born on 6 August 2016 weighing 3.68kg and measuring 52cm. She died on 10 November of the same year with a weight of 2.9kg and a height of 54.5cm. In other words, in her three months of life, not only did she not gain weight, but she lost almost 700 grams.

The TSJA reduced the parents' sentence from 20 to four years in prison, considering that the baby's death was not a murder, but manslaughter due to gross negligence

The court ruling stated that the girl suffered a fall at the end of October or beginning of November 2016 which caused a traumatic brain injury without the defendants, “who were present when it happened”, taking her to any health centre for her to be examined.

“The fundamental cause of death was the severe malnutrition he suffered,” explained the sentence of the Provincial Court, which stated that the “immediate cause” of death was “bronchopneumonia caused by the lack of food”. The result of death was “aided by the trauma” due to its location in the central nervous system, the ruling concluded.

The couple, who separated during the trial, appealed the sentence of the court. In May 2019, the top court in Andalucía (TSJA) reduced the sentence from 20 years in prison for murder to four years for the crime of reckless manslaughter, considering that they did not act deliberately.

The sentence of the TSJA opened the door to prison, where she reportedly rebuilt her life with a new partner, 20 years older. On leaving prison, the young woman became pregnant and in April 2021 gave birth to a baby boy. They settled in the area of Héroe de Sostoa, in Malaga city, with her mother.

The Public Prosecutor's Office, which had requested revisable permanent imprisonment for the death of their first daughter, appealed to the Supreme Court, which in June 2021 annulled the sentence of the TSJA as it found contradictions in the wording of the proven facts and ordered a new one to be handed down. The TSJA corrected the ruling and, although it acknowledged that the parents' actions bordered on malice aforethought, which would have led to the murder, it upheld the conviction for manslaughter and sentenced them to four years in prison.

The last sentence was dated 15 July 2021. She received it while already in prison. Just one day earlier, she had been imprisoned for allegedly mistreating her second child. Her new partner, the father of this baby, was also arrested, although he was provisionally released with a restraining order. Subsequently, her mother, with whom they lived together at the Héroe de Sostoa home, was also charged.

The prosecution maintains that, on the afternoon of 10 July 2021, the defendants - the child's mother and grandmother - “with the intention of harming his physical integrity”, allegedly caused a fracture in his right tibia, a bruise on his right eyelid and a bruise on his left foot without either of them taking the child to hospital.

The following morning, at around 6.30am, the father allegedly dropped the baby while giving him a bottle and, on picking him up, caused a fracture to his left femur. At 7.42am on 11 July, the police went to the Hospital Materno Infantil, where they activated the protocol and discovered the mother's history.

The child required analgesic and orthopaedic treatment - with a special harness - which took around 33 days to heal, of which 10 days were with severe injury and 23 with moderate injury. Fortunately, he has not suffered any after-effects. He is currently in the care of a foster family pending the conclusion of the judicial process. The parents are not allowed to go near him, as the restraining order imposed by the Court of Instruction number 2 of Malaga remains in force.

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