Murder trial told Chesterfield woman’s baby died after ‘deliberate act of smothering’ by her partner

The partner of a Derbyshire woman allegedly smothered her baby daughter to death after claims that the youngster had been heard repeatedly crying.

A Sheffield Crown Court trial heard today, Wednesday, October 2, how Jonathan Garner, 26, of Thirlmere Avenue, Hull, has denied the murder of 23-month-old Mia Gregson on February 13, 2014, and he has denied causing or allowing the death of the child.

Pictured is Sheffield Crown Court.

Pictured is Sheffield Crown Court.

His partner at the time, Samantha Gregson, 26, of Melling Close, Chesterfield, faces only one charge of causing or allowing the death of her daughter at the couple’s former home.

Prosecuting barrister Robert Smith QC said the couple had moved into a terraced house on Dorset Street, Hull, in January, 2014, and soon after neighbours had repeatedly heard Mr Garner shouting at Mia while she was crying.

Mr Smith QC added that there were similar witness accounts before the child was found collapsed and unconscious at the property about 4.40pm and later died.

He said: “The prosecution contends she died as a result of a deliberate act of smothering which involved placing a hand or some item over her mouth and her nose or pushing her face into an object such as a cushion.”

He added that Mia Gregson suffered a cardiac arrest after her breathing had allegedly been obstructed and this meant her heart stopped and her breathing stopped and she was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary where she was later certified dead just after 8pm.

Mr Smith QC added: “The prosecution contends that the defendant Jonathan Garner was responsible for the act of smothering Mia and thereby he unlawfully and deliberately caused her death.”

He also claimed that the alleged smothering had happened when Samantha Gregson was present and following alleged reports from neighbours of shouting at the property Mr Smith QC argued that Ms Gregson would have been aware of the potential risk and had allegedly done nothing.

Mr Smith QC added that Mia Gregson had suffered a cardiac respiratory collapse in the presence of the two defendants and Ms Gregson had gone into the street and a passer-by called the emergency services and a neighbour tried to resuscitate the child before ambulance staff arrived.

Mia was taken to hospital but despite efforts to revive her it was established she was in an “unsurvivable state”, according to Mr Smith QC, and she was certified dead later that evening.

A post-mortem examination did not exclude asphyxiation or smothering as a possible cause of death but stated that Mia’s death was due to brain damage caused by a reduction of oxygen and blood to the brain and was also due to “unexpected sudden death in childhood”.

But Mr Smith QC argued that this was not an appropriate conclusion after citing evidence of bruises and injuries on Mia’s body and he argued that an unexpected collapse in a 23-month-old child is very unusual.

He argued Mia’s collapse and death following reports of shouting and threats from Jonathan Garner was more than just coincidence.

Both Jonathan Garner and Samantha Gregson claimed they had been asleep in the afternoon of February 13, 2014, and had woken to find Mia had collapsed, according to Mr Smith QC, despite witness accounts of shouting from the property.

Jonathan Garner, who is not the father of Mia, has pleaded not guilty to murder and not guilty to causing or allowing the death of a child.

Samantha Gregson has pleaded not guilty to causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial continues.