Man found guilty of murdering his girlfriend's toddler daughter

Jonathan Garner was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday of murdering Mia Gregson at her home in Hull. Picture: PA
Jonathan Garner was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday of murdering Mia Gregson at her home in Hull. Picture: PA
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A 26-year-old man has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend's 23-month-old daughter.

Jonathan Garner was convicted by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday of murdering Mia Gregson at her home in Hull.

Mia's mother, Samantha Gregson, also 26, was found guilty of causing or allowing her daughter's death.

Gregson sobbed in the dock as the verdicts were read out while Garner, who was handcuffed to a prison officer and surrounded by three more, stared upwards at the ceiling.

Prosecutors told the jury how Mia was taken to hospital from her home in the Gipsyville area of Hull on February 13 2014, but died later.

Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said Garner was heard by neighbours "regularly, if not almost constantly" shouting at the little girl.

He told the jury: "The shouting took the form of threats of violence towards her and was motivated by Mia's crying."

The jury deliberated for just under a day following an eight-week long trial.

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Opening the case to the jury in October, Mr Smith said: "The prosecution contend that Jonathan Garner had been shouting at Mia and had been threatening her with violence on the day that she died."

The prosecutor said that neighbours had been disturbed by Garner shouting at Mia from almost as soon as they moved into the terraced house in Dorset Street, three weeks before the girl died.

The jury were told that police were called to the home less than three weeks before the tragedy.

Officers responding to the anonymous call from a neighbour concerned about the "hideous" yelling found Mia asleep and accepted Garner's explanation that he had been shouting at the dog.

Mr Smith said that the night before Mia died, a neighbour heard Garner shouting at the little girl: "Shut the f*** up. Stop screaming at me. Get to bed.

Mr Smith said the woman heard shouting again at 7am, saying: "I'm going to f****** belt you.

The prosecutor told the jury Garner killed Mia by smothering her.

He said: "The prosecution contend that Samantha Gregson must have been aware of Garner's behaviour and threats he was making to her daughter and must have witnessed his behaviour."

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Mr Smith said: "She did nothing about it and took no action to protect her daughter from what must have been an obvious risk."

The judge, Mr Justice Goss, thanked the jury saying it had been a "distressing case".

Garner, of Thirlmere Avenue, Hull, and Gregson, of Melling Close, Chesterfield, were told by the judge they will be sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court at 10.30am on Wednesday.

Both were remanded in custody.

Detective Superintendant Matt Baldwin, from Humberside Police, said: "While I am pleased they have both been convicted and justice has been achieved, sadly it does not bring Mia back.

"They have both consistently denied any involvement in Mia's death.

"The abuse this little girl endured by those who were supposed to be caring for her is very upsetting to contemplate.

"Mia suffered tragically at Garner's hands, while Gregson allowed weeks of neglect and abuse to go on against her daughter, leading ultimately to her tragic death.

"I am confident the result today will serve to protect any other children from the pair as they will both be behind bars."