Mansfield child murder: Sentencing Katie Crowder to 21 years, the judge described her actions as 'tragic and disturbing'
The judge who sentenced Mansfield child murderer Katie Crowder described her actions as both “tragic and disturbing”, as he sentenced her to serve a minimum of 21 years behind bars.
High Court Judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, told the 26-year old that he had ruled out a whole life order, and set a starting point of 15 years, after Crowder deliberately tipped boiling water over 19-month-old Gracie Crowder and then watched her die.
But he said that the fact that she had not raised the alarm, after she committed the crime at the house they both shared in Wharmby Avenue, Mansfield, on March, 6 this year, was a significant aggravating factor.
He said that her consumption of cocaine, plus her ongoing mental health issues, could be why she murdered the toddler.
In his sentencing remarks, the judge told her: “What happened to Gracie on that Friday morning is as disturbing as it is tragic, in that it is apparent from the verdict of the jury that you poured a significant quantity of scalding water over Gracie’s face and body whilst she was sat in a pool of equally hot water, causing deep burns to at least 65 per cent of the surface of her skin.
“It is clear from the medical evidence that this would have caused Gracie intense pain which would had led her to cry out vigorously, become distressed and seek to physically escape from the source of the heat.
“Furthermore, her death would not have occurred swiftly. On the contrary, Gracie would have continued to suffer pain and distress for a significant period of time, an hour or more, during which the resultant loss of fluid from her blood vessels would have led to a loss of blood pressure, eventually causing a loss of function of her vital organs, including her heart, resulting in her death.
“I am satisfied that, for whatever reason, instead of seeking prompt medical attention for Gracie, which may well have saved her life, you did not seek assistance from your parents, who lived a few doors away, until after you knew that Gracie had died and that thereafter all attempts to save her life both by the paramedics at the scene and the doctors at the hospital were rendered futile.
“Although the murder of child can, in some circumstances, result in the imposition of a whole life order, I am not satisfied that those circumstances pertain in this case, in that although your actions led to Gracie suffering intense pain and distress over a significant period of time, I do not consider that, whatever your motivation, this was your purpose.
“I have no doubt that at some stage on the Friday morning you ingested a significant quantity of cocaine, a substance which you had been abusing for some time, there is no clear evidence as to whether you took this prior to pouring scalding water over your daughter, rather than afterwards during the period of time when you ought to have been seeking urgent medical attention for Gracie but failed to do so.
“What you did the following morning, represented a gross breach of trust as the parent of a very young and therefore particularly vulnerable child who was in your sole care. Moreover, not only, as I have already observed, did your actions result in Gracie suffering both mental and physical pain for a significant period of time leading up to her death, but you failed to seek any medical assistance for her until after she had died. In my judgment, the combination of these factors and in particular the extent of Gracie’s suffering prior to her death, substantially aggravates this offence of murder.”
A total of 281 days will be reduced from the sentence to take into account the length of time Crowder has already served on remand.