Man jailed for 11 years after killing three-year-old girl in his care

A man who killed a three-year-old girl while she was in his care after becoming angry that she had not finished her lunch has been jailed for 11 years.

Paul Marsh, 27, inflicted catastrophic head injuries on Jessica Dalgleish at her home in Sandgate, near Folkestone, on 21 December 2019, Kent Police said.

Marsh (pictured) had grown increasingly frustrated with looking after Jessica in the weeks leading up to her death. Bruising was discovered on her face and head suggesting he had assaulted her on previous occasions, which were not reported to police at time.

Witness evidence showed that he carried out the fatal attack after the toddler had struggled to eat all of her lunch.

He called emergency services at 3.10pm on the day of the killing claiming he had discovered Jessica on the floor in a dazed state. Paramedics arrived and arranged for her to be flown to specialist care in London, but she died in hospital in the afternoon on Christmas Eve 2019.

Marsh suggested she may have fallen down the stairs while playing, but his account of the incident was unclear, leading detectives at Kent Police to investigate.

Medical experts later found Jessica’s injuries were more likely to have been caused by an impact, such as being thrown against the headboard or side of her bed.

Marsh was charged with Jessica’s manslaughter and child cruelty and was convicted on November 3 following a trial.

At Maidstone Crown Court on Monday, the 27-year-old, formerly of Lydd, was jailed for a total of 11 years.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kimber, Senior Investigating Officer for the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This is a tragic case in which a young girl has been robbed of her life before it had really begun.

“Marsh was reluctant to get medical attention for Jessica on the day he inflicted these injuries and he has since sought to evade justice by changing his account and lying about what actually happened on that day.

“A meticulous investigation by my team, including sensitive interviewing of a number of witnesses and careful analysis of complicated medical evidence, has led to Marsh being found guilty of manslaughter.

“I hope the jury’s verdicts and the sentence handed down today give Jessica’s relatives some sense of closure as they continue to mourn her tragic death.”

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