Salisbury JournalMan guilty of murdering toddler (From Salisbury Journal)

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Man guilty of murdering toddler

Salisbury Journal: Amina Agboola was murdered by her mother's boyfriend Dean Harris Amina Agboola was murdered by her mother's boyfriend Dean Harris

A man has been found guilty of murdering a two-year-old girl after becoming frustrated at her soiling herself.

Amina Agboola, two, was found injured and like a "rag doll" at her home near Peterborough after paramedics were called on November 21 last year. She died later that day after being taken to hospital.

Her mother's boyfriend, Dean Harris, 19, later admitted manslaughter, saying he had lost his temper and kicked her in the stomach, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Harris, 19, of Scott Drive, Yaxley, denied murder but was found guilty by a jury today after about two hours of deliberations, Cambridgeshire Police said.

Sarah Racqueman, 29, also of Scott Drive, was cleared of causing or allowing her daughter's death. She had already admitted cruelty to two other children.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Zoe Johnson said: "The evidence demonstrates that in the period leading up to Amina Agboola's death, Sarah Racqueman was repeatedly warned by professionals that Dean Harris posed a risk of serious physical harm to children but she chose to ignore those warnings.

"That was to prove, unfortunately, a fatal decision."

A post-mortem examination also found Amina's liver had been split in two by Harris's kick.

The court heard she was sent flying across the room.

Harris initially told ambulance crews she had fallen off a toilet, but later admitted this was not true.

While on remand, Harris told a fellow inmate he was a "psychopath" and confessed to lashing out at her after becoming frustrated that she kept soiling herself, Miss Johnson said.

Miss Johnson said the child was found "limp and unconscious" in her pink nightie, and one paramedic remarked that as she lay on the floor she looked like a "rag doll".

Her pupils were dilated, she was unresponsive and was struggling to breathe, she added.

Her arm had recently been fractured, she had bruises to her face and skull and there were bite marks to her cheek and forearm.

Police who searched the house after her death found there was an inadequate amount of food kept in the home.

Jurors were told that Racqueman had begun a relationship with Harris, who lived next door, five months earlier.

Social services had warned her that he was capable of violence, used drugs and had abused his former girlfriend.

In his evidence, Harris told the court he had become "a bit frustrated" on the morning of Amina's death after repeatedly changing and cleaning her each time she soiled herself.

Asked by prosecutor Zoe Johnson if he knew what he was doing, he said: "To a certain degree yes.

"I did not intend to kick her. It just happened in a split second because I was frustrated."

Racqueman, who had previously been the victim of domestic violence, said her relationship with Harris had developed "very quickly" after meeting earlier that year.

She had allowed him to care for Amina because being a single parent could be "stressful".

She said she had not allowed Harris to care for Amina since the warning but was "not in my right mind" on the day she died.

Racqueman said: "The dog was barking, Amina was screaming and saying she didn't want to go out. I was just in a daze."

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Hutchinson said: "This was a truly horrendous case. Harris used completely disproportionate violence against such a tiny child.

"There is never an excuse to hit a child and he should have had no doubt what the potential consequences were of using such force on a two-year-old.

"His evil actions have resulted in the death of a young girl who had her whole life ahead of her."

The pair will be sentenced at a later date.

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