A former Sawtry student was yesterday (Tuesday) found guilty of murdering his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter.
Dean Harris, 19, was convicted at Cambridge Crown Court of murdering Amina Agboola at her home in Scott Drive, Yaxley.
Harris, who had been in a relationship with Amina’s mother for just five months, was left alone with the toddler on November 21 last year when he lashed out in frustration at the toddler after she had soiled herself. He kicked her so hard the force tore her liver in two.
Harris called an ambulance, claiming Amina had hurt herself falling off the toilet. She was taken to Peterborough City Hospital but died from her injuries.
Harris admitted manslaughter but denied murder, however he was convicted by a jury after two hours of deliberations.
Sarah Racqueman, 29, also of Scott Drive, was cleared of causing or allowing her daughter’s death. She had already admitted two other charges of neglect.
The trial heard Amina was found to have had a number of other injuries, including an untreated broken wrist.
During the trial prosecutor Zoe Johnson said: “The evidence demonstrates that in the period leading up to Amina’s death, Sarah Racqueman was repeatedly warned by professionals that Harris posed a risk of serious physical harm to children but she chose to ignore those warnings. That was to prove, unfortunately, a fatal decision.”
Jurors were told Racqueman had begun a relationship with Harris, who lived next door. Social services had warned her he was capable of violence, used drugs and had abused his former girlfriend.
In his evidence, Harris told the court he had become “a bit frustrated” on the morning of Amina’s death after repeatedly changing and cleaning her each time she soiled herself. “I did not intend to kick her,” he said. “It just happened in a split second because I was frustrated.”
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Hutchinson described Harris’s actions as ‘evil’. “This was a truly horrendous case,” he said. “Harris used completely disproportionate violence against such a tiny child. There is never an excuse to hit a child and he should have had no doubt what the potential consequences were of using such force on a two-year-old.”
The pair will be sentenced at a later date.