A young mother who was cleared of being involved in the killing of her 16-week-old daughter took her own life after being hounded by her local community, members of which would shout insults at her such as “baby killer” in the street, despite her acquittal, an inquest has heard.
Danah Vince, 20, died a year after her ex-boyfriend, William Stephens, 27, was jailed for six years for the manslaughter of their child Paris Vince-Stephens. Ms Vince, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, was found not guilty of causing or allowing Paris’ death following a trial at Bristol Crown Court. Nevertheless, she began suffering verbal attacks in the street and received threats through social media following the jury’s verdicts in October 2013.
Avon Coroner’s Court heard that Ms Vince was branded a “baby killer” by groups of women in her community and became increasingly depressed. Ms Vince also experienced flashbacks about her baby, who was shaken to death when Stephens ran out of cannabis.
Ms Vince was found dead in November 2014 shortly after being confronted by a group of women during a night out with friends. Maria Voisin, senior coroner for Avon, reached a conclusion of suicide and said Ms Vince was “very upset” following the verbal attack.
“Danah’s child died in 2013 when she was only four months old,” Ms Voisin said. “Both Danah and her then partner William were charged.
“A crown court trial acquitted her. Danah became a victim of abuse and threats referring to the death of her daughter. On the evening before her death, Danah was involved in an altercation while out with friends and she was very upset.
“Comments read in this court indicate that she said, ‘I’ll end it all, I can’t do it anymore.’ She was on medication for depression.”
Paris, described as a healthy baby in court, died in hospital three days after collapsing at her home in Bristol following her father’s attack.
Stephens, of Southmead, Bristol, admitted shaking Paris after being left to care for her by Ms Vince, and was convicted of manslaughter. The judge said the reason behind Stephens’ attack had not been established but was likely to be because Paris was crying.
Ms Vince’s father, DJ Vince, told the inquest that his eldest daughter had been “up and down” since Paris’ death. “She was depressed and found it difficult coming to terms with what happened to Paris,” he said.
“Females in the area would shout ‘baby killer’ to her when she was in the street or walking to the shops. One night after finishing work, females were waiting for her and tried to force her into a car. She told me she received letters and threatening Facebook messages from people.
“She was strong and tried to stand up for herself, telling people she hadn’t done anything wrong but this did get her down.
“She found it hard to move on with her life because of the abuse. Every time I spoke to her she would tell me that someone had shouted abuse or threatened her.”
The inquest heard that Ms Vince had sent messages to family and friends in the early hours of 29 November last year.
Mr Vince said he could not reach his daughter and so went round to her flat that afternoon, where he found her dead.
Ms Vince’s cousin, Jaylea Monks, said they were verbally abused by a group of women while celebrating friends’ birthdays on 28 November.
“These women were shouting at Danah, calling her a baby killer,” Ms Monks said.
“Danah was saying things like, ‘I didn’t kill her, I didn’t kill my baby.’ She was also saying things like, ‘I can’t take any more of this.’”
Ms Vince’s parents did not wish to comment following the inquest.
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