A troubled father killed his daughter weeks after saying he feared he wouldn’t be able to look after her.
Daniel Ashurst, 33, told a mental health nurse that he was afraid to fight for 14-month-old Hollie when her partner returned to work after a maternity leave.
Leanne Thompson was just two days away from work when she received a call saying her daughter had been rushed to hospital.
Being alone with Hollie, Ashurst shook her so violently that he killed her.
Now Ashurst has been incarcerated for 12 years after being found guilty of manslaughter. He was eliminated from the murder.
As he was being led from the dock, there were cries of “monsters” and “baby killers” from the public gallery.
Ashurst had denied both allegations, saying that Hollie had suffered a series of falls.
Just two weeks earlier, the couple had returned from a two-week holiday in Gran Canaria with Hollie.
They had planned to marry the following year.
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They met for the first time on a dating site in September 2016 and, after attending several dates together, they made a relationship.
In just two months from the meeting, the couple moved together and, in December 2017, Hollie was born.
In the weeks leading up to the boy’s tragic death, his parents had quarreled over money.
Ashurst approached Ms. Thompson for the money she had lent and which had not yet been repaid.
He accused him of wasting £ 150 on cocaine.
Ashurst would later admit, before the jurors who tried him for killing Hollie, that he had drunk and taken cocaine most nights to “relax”.
He did it the night before Hollie’s death, when he and Mrs. Thompson quarreled and ended up sleeping in separate beds and, it is believed, the day their daughter was mortally wounded.
That day Ashurst was seen behaving strangely. He wanted to lose weight, so he went to a Facebook friend’s house to take a diet.
He noticed that he looked tense and that he left Hollie in the car with the engine running.
Previously, he had brought Hollie to Asda to take some photos in a Max Spielmann dealership, after leaving Mrs. Thompson to work.
Throughout the morning, Ashurst and Ms. Thompson exchanged a series of messages in which they discussed bills and said they were lost. Ashurst assured her that Hollie was fine.
But, hours later, Ashurst entered Standish Medical Practice with the child’s inert body in his arms.
He had suffered more bruises and cuts in his head and neck, bleeding from his brain and eyes and a broken ankle.
When the medical staff asked him what had happened, Ashurst gave different and confused accounts.
He was later arrested in hospital on charges of inflicting serious physical damage on Hollie, who became a murderer after his death.
The pathologist dr. Charles Wilson said he believed Hollie had been subjected to “non-accidental injuries involving excessive acceleration and deceleration of the head relative to the rest of the body, with multiple impacts on the head and face.”
She added that there was “convincing evidence that she had been bitten on more than one occasion.”
The court heard how, leaving school at 16, Ashurst did a series of factory and warehouse jobs before taking on a role in Heinz in his hometown of Wigan.
He worked there for 11 years but was applying for unemployment benefits at the time of Hollie’s death.
He told jurors he had a close relationship with his mother and two younger brothers, who all attended the court to support him during the trial.
And he said he “loved” Hollie and “loved to show her and photograph her.”
Since his mid-1920s, Ashurst had struggled with anxiety and depression, for which he had been prescribed drugs.
In January 2019, she told a nurse at the Claire House unit in Wigan that she thought she would have difficulty coping with Hollie when Ms. Thompson returned to work.
Less than two months later, he rocked his daughter to death.
Relieving, Nina Grahame QC said that Ashurst deserves credit for her “immediate reaction” to what happened.
He stressed that he had no relevant prior beliefs, a “long history of anxiety and depression” and that the attack was not premeditated.
He added: “Whatever went wrong on that day, the proof is that Hollie was a well-groomed child, who was happy.” He will have to live with the consequences of his actions. “
Senior detective Duncan Thorpe of the GMP Major Accident Support Unit said: “The death of a child is always excruciating, but this is a particularly excruciating case.
“Hollie was an innocent child who was killed by her father who was supposed to provide care and protection.
It turned out that Hollie had several internal and external injuries, for which Ashurst was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation.
“During our investigations and trial, our thoughts remained with Hollie’s mother and extended family. It was an extremely difficult time for them, so I hope today’s results give them a sense of closure.”