Suspended prison term for mother who killed daughter

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The Independent Online
A mother who killed her severely handicapped daughter by removing a vital breathing tube as she lay in a hospital cot was given an 18-month suspended jail sentence yesterday.

Julie Watts, 31, was led sobbing from the dock at Manchester Crown Court after Mr Justice Sachs sentenced her for the manslaughter of 14-month- old Abigail.

The judge told Watts, a psychiatric nurse of Little Hulton , Bolton, Greater Manchester: ""If anyone thinks the sentence I am about to pass is any indication of approval of euthanasia or anything of that kind they are in error."

A jury last week convicted Watts of manslaughter, but cleared her of murder. Her trial heard how Abigail had been found collapsed in her cot at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital after being left by her mother only minutes before.

A tracheotomy tube enabling the little girl to breathe had been dislodged, but Watts denied causing her daughter any harm.

The court heard how Abigail was born with a "clover-leaf" skull, suffered water on the brain, had to breathe and feed through tubes and suffered hearing and sight impediments. She had also suffered brain damage and needed constant round-the-clock care.

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