Mother jailed for 13 years after she 'snapped' her infant daughter's ribs in a bid to make her stop crying
Abigail Palmer, who was found guilty of manslaughter at a trial earlier on in the week, also made multiple phone calls to her cocaine dealer while her child was critically injured
A "selfish" single mother who murdered her 2-month-old baby while trying to stop her from crying was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.
Thirty three-year-old Abigail Palmer crushed infant Teri-Rae's chest with so much force that she ended up snapping ten of the infant's ribs. The Birmingham Crown Court heard that Palmer, who was found guilty of manslaughter at a trial earlier on in the week, also made multiple phone calls to her cocaine dealer while her infant was critically injured.
The Daily Mail reported that Palmer did not call an ambulance to the home for 15 minutes after she inflicted harm on the child. Paramedics, when they were finally called, rushed to the home but were unable to save the baby.
BABY DEATH: This is Abigail Palmer from #Solihull who's been jailed for squeezing her 2-month-old baby to death. We worked with @wmgwarwick whose micro-CT technology identified tiny fractures to the baby's ribs & helped us secure Palmer's conviction. More: https://t.co/xWWCD4woBc pic.twitter.com/v8NkreWiSm— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) April 4, 2019
The court heard that Palmer, who is from Solihull, West Midlands, had been "burning the candle at both ends" and had not slept for 72 hours before the tragic incident.
While sentencing, Justice Lambert told the court how the mother crushed the infant's ribcage which led to the fracture of ten of the infant's ribs. This led to the baby suffering oxygen starvation.
The judge said: "What you did was appalling. Only you know why you assaulted Teri-Rae in this way but it does not require much imagination that you did so because she was crying and you were short-fused through a lack of sleep owing to your heavy-duty socializing over previous days. You tried to silence her by grabbing her so strongly that she was unable to get any air into her lungs."
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that jurors at the Birmingham Crown Court were informed how the baby passed away on January 2 in 2017. The court also heard how Palmer had tested positive for cocaine while she was pregnant and was also facing the possibility that Teri-Rae may be taken into care.
Some of little Teri-Rae's ribs were discovered to have buckled while others had just snapped like toothpicks. Jonas Hankin QC who opened the trial shared: "The presence of multiple unexplained rib fractures on multiple occasions, as here, is highly indicative of abusive injury. The prosecution case is on each occasion the defendant, Abigail Palmer, inflicted these injuries on her baby by forcefully compressing her chest, most likely to silence her crying."
Even though there was no evidence that Palmer had been under the influence of the Class A drug at the time of her infant's tragic death, it was revealed in court that she had made 23 calls in an attempt to source drugs from her dealer. Hospital medics also described that the mother smelled of alcohol even though she denied drinking. Two bottles of spirits were found in her fridge.
Hankin said: "A clear picture emerged that the defendant was burning the candle at both ends and had not slept for 72 hours. Not only was she not sleeping, but she was drinking and taking cocaine. It's those features that were likely the catalyst for her loss of temper with the child."
The court then heard that Palmer did not call for an ambulance until 15 minutes after the incident. The furious judge said: "You declined to call for medical help and said you tried to revive her with your own version of CPR. I have no doubt that when you realized something was wrong with Teri-Rae you realized you were responsible. You hoped that you might be able to revive her yourself so that your crime would not be uncovered."
She added: "Your selfishness and selfish act led to the death of your daughter. This is something you will have to live with and endeavor to come to terms with."
Jurors then heard that Palmer had fractured her infant's ribs on two previous separate occasions. Hankin added: "The prosecution say it is an aggravating feature that the assault was carried out against a background of substance misuse in defiance of a child protection order designed to protect Teri-Rae."
Defense attorney Michael Burrows denied the claims that his client, who has no previous convictions, has shown "a disarming lack of remorse". He said: "She is unable to bring herself to acknowledge the full scale of what she has done."
Burrows added: "She is a bereaved mother and feels the loss of her daughter as much as anyone else. The primary intention of Abigail Palmer was not to cause harm but to stop Teri-Rae crying. If her intention had really been to cause serious harm, then I submit that there would have been other signs. There could have been blows, there could have been an attempt to squeeze the neck."
Palmer was also given a two-year concurrent sentence for wounding the infant.