Father handed 12-year prison term for killing 14-month-old daughter

A father who killed his 14-month-old daughter has been jailed for 12 years.

Daniel Ashurst, 33, was cleared by a jury at Manchester Crown Court last week of murdering Hollie Ashurst but found guilty of her manslaughter.

Hollie sustained a catalogue of injuries including bleeding on the brain and in the eyes, a broken ankle and two possible bite marks to her hand and thigh.

Ashurst, 33, was said to have shaken her in a violent temper while alone with the youngster at the family home in Shevington, Wigan. Hollie died in hospital the following day.

Daniel Ashurst
Daniel Ashurst’s explanation for Hollie’s injuries were dismissed as ‘nonsense’ by prosecutors (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

Ashurst told medics his daughter had tumbled down two steps on the stairs at the family home in Fleming Court on February 28. But in a defence statement seven months later he claimed a series of unfortunate accidents had befallen his daughter.

In a rush to get her to hospital, he said she fell further down the staircase when he slipped and lost grip of her as his shorts pocket snagged something on the way down.

Ashurst then claimed Hollie flew out of her car seat as he braked heavily at a set of traffic lights.

The Crown said his explanation for the injuries was “nonsense” and was fabricated in a bid to fit the medical evidence.

Unemployed Ashurst was on medication for anxiety and depression and admitted he drank three of four cans of lager nightly – and took cocaine two or three times a week to help him relax.

He used cocaine on the evening before the fatal injuries were said to have happened, the court was told, but he said it had no effect on him the next day after “a good night’s sleep”.

Following sentencing on Wednesday, senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe, from Greater Manchester Police, said: “Hollie was an innocent baby girl who was killed by her father who should have been providing care and protection.

“Hollie was found to have multiple internal and external injuries which Ashurst was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation for.

“Throughout our investigation and the trial, our thoughts have remained with Hollie’s mother and extended family. This has been an extremely difficult time for them so I hope today’s result brings them a sense of closure.

“Hollie will never be forgotten.”

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