Baby sitter jailed for shaking infant to death

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The Independent Online

A baby sitter who shook an infant to death in a fit of anger was today sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

Linda Bayfield was jailed for killing 8­month­old Joshua Osborne, who died in July 2000 from brain damage caused by violent shaking.

Bayfield, 54, was convicted of manslaughter last month. A jury at London's Old Bailey criminal court rejected her claim that she was trying to revive the baby after he stopped breathing at her home in south London.

Joshua Osborne's parents had been unaware that Bayfield, a professional child minder, had a series of complaints against her. In 1986, she was acquitted of causing bodily harm to a 2­year­old girl in her care. She was banned from looking after children but later was reinstated.

Local authorities in Croydon, south London, later ruled that in future parents should be told of complaints about child minders.

Bayfield's lawyer, David Bate, said the incident "was a momentary loss of control, set against 28 years of loving and caring for the many, many children she has looked after."

But judge Peter Beaumont said Bayfield had betrayed the trust of Joshua's parents, 38­year­old Libby and Ken Osborne, 44.

"Joshua was a totally defenseless 8­month­old baby left in your care as a registered child minder by his parents," Beaumont said at the sentencing. "You were earning your living by the money they paid you to look after their child. Their trust in you was total and you betrayed it."