Couple jailed for baby manslaughter

A CRUEL couple who sat watching television as their 22-month-old daughter drowned in her grandmother's pond are today behind bars after they were found guilty of manslaughter.

A CRUEL couple who sat watching television as their 22-month-old daughter drowned in her grandmother's pond are today behind bars after they were found guilty of manslaughter.

Richard and Karen Wilkinson - both drug users and heavy drinkers - were each found guilty of manslaughter and handed 30-month jail terms for the tragic death of their toddler Emily in a garden at Great Bradley, near Haverhill, in February 2003.

Mr Wilkinson, 41, was earlier found guilty of four counts of cruelty to children between November 1, 2000 and March 2003, charges his 27-year-old wife admitted.

The jury had heard that during an afternoon, in the "short period of chaos", the couple had been watching television in their squalid home as Emily wandered into the neighbouring garden of her grandmother's home in Evergreen Lane, ended up in the pond and drowned. Her lifeless body was found face down in the water.


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Despite her father's frantic attempts to revive her - during which the youngster briefly regained consciousness - she died later in hospital.

The Wilkinsons, of The Street, Brandon, were told they could be out of prison in just over a year by Judge John Devaux, who said his sentencing powers were "relatively short".

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He added: "This is not a case of cruelty by beating or excessive chastisement - it is a case of gross neglect."

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