‘Toxic’ couple jailed over death of baby Eva


A former high-flying City worker and her handyman lover have been jailed over the death of their baby daughter.

Management consultant Clare Sanders, 44, and Tomas Vaitkevicius, 45, were cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of four-week-old Eva Sanders in September 2017.

Baby Eva suffered 27 rib factures as well as injuries to her head and spine from three separate assaults, jurors heard.

Both parents, from Mitcham, south London, denied causing baby Eva’s injuries or noticing any signs of mistreatment.

At the Old Bailey on Friday, Vaitkevicius, who had convictions for violence, was jailed for nine years.

Sanders wept in the dock as she was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Parents of Eva Sanders convicted of causing or allowing the death of their child.
Parents of Eva Sanders convicted of causing or allowing the death of their child.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Lucraft QC told the pair that drink had played a “major part” in what happened.

They had each tried to present a picture of “calm” in the household while “Eva was in the midst of your toxic relationship”, the judge said.

He said: “I am entirely satisfied on all the evidence there were at least three incidents of significant trauma to Eva and it would have been obvious to each of you she suffered trauma yet you did nothing about it.

“I’m entirely satisfied there were incidents of serious cruelty and very significant force was used.”

Previously, the court heard how the couple’s neighbour had raised the alarm in the early hours of September 1 2017 when she woke up to Sanders screaming and ringing the doorbell.

Eva was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, where she died the next day.

On August 27, less than a week earlier, Sanders had made internet searches on her mobile for “shaken baby syndrome NHS”, “shaking babies” and “baby is shaking”, the court heard.

She later told police that Eva’s arms and legs had been shaking but she could not provide an explanation for it.

Vaitkevicius said he had been watching television when Sanders went to check on Eva and within seconds heard her shouting.

He said he ran into the bedroom and found Sanders holding the “limp” baby by the armpits.

Jurors heard that Vaitkevicius had a string of previous convictions, including assaulting his first wife by grabbing her by the neck during an argument.

Detective Inspector Will White, of Scotland Yard, said: “This is a devastatingly sad case where baby Eva died from extensive injuries at just 28 days old.

“Medical evidence in the case was emphatic in determining that the injuries sustained were deliberate.

“No explanation was offered by either of the defendants for Eva’s injuries, and although nothing can bring her back, her parents will now face the consequences of their horrific actions.

“This was a heart-breaking loss of an innocent life at the hands of the two people who were meant to love, care for and protect her.”

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