Childminder jailed for baby's death

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A childminder who shook a baby to death was jailed for three years yesterday as the child's parents said they could never forgive her.

Keran Henderson, 42, collapsed at Reading Crown Court as a jury found her guilty of killing Mauve Sheppard in a fit of temper.

Henderson, an experienced childminder who was in sole charge of the baby on the night of her death, had appeared a "trustworthy" babysitter, the court heard. But on the morning of 2 March, 2005, emergency services were called and Maeve was taken to hospital. Doctors fought to save her but her condition deteriorated and, two days later, her life support machine was turned off after a short Christening ceremony.

A jury at Reading Crown Court convicted Henderson –a mother of two children – of manslaughter by a majority of 10 to two after deliberating for more than 12 hours at the end of a five-week trial. During the trial, medical experts claimed the injuries Maeve suffered must have been caused by violent shaking. Henderson, who had seven years' experience as a childminder and was also a Beaver Scout leader, claimed Maeve had a seizure while she was changing her nappy.

Ruth and Mark Sheppard, the mother and father of 11-month-old Maeve, said: "Keran Henderson not only took our daughter's life away but she took away our right as her parents to grieve her, to mourn her, to think and remember her in any other way than with pain and anguish. She also took away our right to say goodbye to Maeve."