Mum says I’ll never forgive ‘monster’ who killed my disabled daughter for refusing to eat lunch

Hannah Butler has shared her heartbreak after her lover Paul Marsh killed her three-year-old daughter – who was vulnerable because of medical issues – after flying into a rage when the little girl refused to eat her lunch at her mum’s home in Folkestone

A man killed his girlfriend's little daughter when she refused to eat her lunch
A man killed his girlfriend’s little daughter when she refused to eat her lunch

A devastated mum has spoken out against the thug who killed her three-year-old daughter in a fit of rage after she refused to eat lunch after he was jailed for manslaughter.

Residential home worker Paul Marsh, who had beaten little Jessica Dalgleish previously, sat with his head bowed as the victim’s tearful mother called him a coward.

The 27-year-old had claimed he had found Jessica slumped behind the bannister near the stairs on December 21, 2019.

Jessica – who was a vulnerable child due to medical problems – was airlifted from Folkestone to King’s College Hospital in London, but died on Christmas Eve l ast year from fatal brain injuries.

The judge heard a victim impact statement read to the court by Jessica’s heartbroken mum Hannah Butler, who said she is still tortured by the brutal death and will never forgive Marsh.

She said: “I did not realise what the monster pretending to be human was doing to my innocent baby.

“No sentence will ever be enough and the fact he has been cocky throughout shows how unfeeling and unaffected this creature is.

“I will never recover from losing my baby, Jessica was a light in the world and to say she is missed is a massive understatement.

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“I feel as though I died too the day Jessie passed but nobody buried me, I wake up in pain and the nightmares of not being able to save Jessica have never gone away.

“I sincerely hope that the justice system recognises the atrocity this monster committed against a small helpless little girl who did not understand what was happening.”

The 27-year-old had been angry and threw the little girl against the wall, where she hit her head

He tried telling the cops it was the little girl who injured herself

Mr Justice Cavanagh told him: “The jury was convinced that you were solely responsible for previous injuries which you tried to pass off as caused by the child herself.”

The judge said Marsh had been angry later that day and threw her roughly which resulted in her hitting her head against a hard surface.

He added Marsh had behaved in a cowardly way, with his first thought to protect himself.

After finding the injured child he immediately tried to cover up what he had done and then failed to call 999 straight away.

He told officers she had fallen down the stairs but had phoned emergency services at 3.10pm saying he had found her on the floor and she seemed dazed.

Paramedics attended and quickly realised that Jessica had suffered serious head injuries.

They arranged for an air ambulance to fly her to specialist care in London, but she died in hospital on the afternoon of December 24, 2019.

Marsh’s account of what had happened was unclear, prompting an investigation by detectives from Kent Police.

Medical experts found Jessica’s injuries were inconsistent with falling down the stairs and were more likely to have been caused by an impact, such as being thrown against the headboard or side of her bed.

Sentencing him, Mr Justice Kavanagh told Marsh: “I accept though you did not intend to kill the child nor indeed cause her really serious injury.”

He acted like a “coward” and failed to call 999, the court heard


Steve Finn Photography)

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court heard how Marsh was arrested at the hospital and told police: “This will ruin me.”

He was convicted on charges of manslaughter and child cruelty after the jury were out for seven hours – and he was jailed for 11 years.

Marsh, of Sandgate, Folkestone, had denied manslaughter following the December 2019 incident and cruelty to the child in the weeks before.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight QC said he had told the mother that there was nothing wrong with Jessica when she found mystery bruises on her in the weeks before her death.

She told Marsh: “You know there was no mystery because you had caused the injuries.”

The court had heard how Jessica had been born in February 2016 and suffered from autism.

She was under three feet tall and weighed just two stones and 11 pounds.

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The judge said her mother was loving and dedicated but struggled to cope with the challenging demands of the child.

He said: “Despite all of her difficulties, Jessica was a lovely child. She was happy and loving. She had ways of making herself understood. She was cheeky and funny with a twinkle in her eyes.

“Her problems, and in particular, her lack of awareness of danger meant she was particularly vulnerable – even more so than most three-year-olds.”

Marsh had displayed anger and frustration at Jessica’s behaviour and staff at the nursery began noticing that the child had bruises.
The judge added: “On December 16, her injuries were more vivid still and Jessica did not seem to be her normal self.

“It is clear from the jury’s verdict that they were satisfied that it was you who inflicted these injuries, which were caused by the rough handling of this small charge, by throwing her into the cot bed.

“You lost your temper and you took out your frustrations on her.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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