Boyfriend who murdered toddler after cuts to Universal Credit is jailed for life

A boyfriend who murdered his new partner’s toddler by shaking her to death after learning his Universal Credit had been stopped and being threatened for drug debts has been jailed for life.

While her mother was at work, Michael Daymond (pictured) attacked two-year-old Maya Chappell with such force that damage to her eyes was similar to that suffered from falling out of a tall building.

He must serve 20 years behind bars before he can apply for parole, Mr Justice Bright ordered at Teesside Crown Court.

Her mother Dana Carr, 24, was convicted of allowing the death of a child and was jailed for nine years.

Both were convicted of child cruelty and their six-year sentences will run concurrently.

Daymond, 27, had sole care of Maya on the afternoon of September 28 2022 when he shook the toddler and caused a severe brain injury at her home in Shotton Colliery, County Durham.

In the weeks that Daymond and Carr had been living together, he had frequently caused the little girl to bruise.

Mr Justice Bright said: “The injuries inflicted were not as severe before 28 September, but there is a degree of nastiness about this persistent conduct.”

Addressing Daymond, who continues to deny hurting Maya, the judge added: “There was clearly a significant change in what you did to Maya on 28 September.

“Your other worries must have played a significant part, but this was not an isolated flash of temper.

“This was physical and mental suffering over a sustained period that day, on top of the weeks of occasional cruelty that had preceded it.”

Earlier that afternoon, Daymond had been trying to find out why his Universal Credit had been stopped, and his inquiries about it continued on the phone, once he had dialled 999, as paramedics performed first aid on the stricken toddler.

On the day, Daymond had also been receiving threats about a drug debt.

Maya was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, but never regained consciousness and died two days later.

During the three-week trial, which concluded last month, the jury heard how Daymond and Carr had only been dating for a matter of weeks when he moved in with her and Maya.

Carr had split up acrimoniously from Maya’s father James Chappell, and quickly became besotted with Daymond.

A significant number of bruises began to appear on Maya’s face and body, and the couple took her out of nursery to avoid questions.

Family members raised concerns but were told that the injuries were self-inflicted because Maya was nipping herself.

Daymond would message Carr while she was at work with a series of lies to cover up his behaviour.

Despite being alerted to the situation, Carr did nothing to stop her daughter from getting hurt, instead telling Daymond she loved him and would not leave him.

The judge acknowledged she was “distraught” at her daughter’s death and loved Maya.

But she had lied “prodigiously and without compulsion” throughout.

Mr Justice Bright said: “You completely failed to take any steps whatsoever to protect Maya.”

A pre-sentence report stated Carr quickly had latched on to Daymond after the failed relationship with Maya’s father.

The judge said: “Your emotional immaturity and selfishness led you to pay attention only to your own desire for a relationship, without any regard to the consequences for Maya.”

While on bail, she has since formed a relationship with another man and has had his baby, the judge said.

Outside court, Detective Superintendent Chris Barker who led the inquiry for Durham Police said: “Maya was killed, we don’t know why or what caused Daymond to carry out such an appalling crime – but he did.

“Sadly, nothing can change his unforgivable actions but at least he, together with Carr, is now facing the consequences of Maya’s tragic death.

“Maya was a defenceless two-year-old girl who should have been able to trust Daymond – instead she lived in fear, and she couldn’t even rely on her own mother to help her.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2023, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Durham Police / PA.