Life for dad who murdered baby daughter Daisy-Mae

John Burrill
John Burrill

A DAD who murdered his baby daughter when she would not go to sleep has been jailed for life.

John Burrill, 30, has never admitted what he did to eight-week-old Daisy-Mae when he lost his temper and threw her so hard her skull was fractured and her heart stopped.

Daisy Mae Burrill

Daisy Mae Burrill

But today a court heard how Burrill swung the little girl by her legs, causing her head to bang against a hard surface.

He grabbed her chest and shook her so hard her ribs fractured.

After the attack, Burrill, of Gordon Road Fleetwood, Lancs, smoked a cannabis joint before taking his injured daughter upstairs to her mother Ashlee Cox, telling her: “Daisy-Mae’s not right.”

He repeatedly denied injuring the little girl casting suspicion on Ashlee - who was arrested twice on suspicion of being involved in the tragedy.

Handing down a sentence of life imprisonment, Mr Justice Goss said: “Although repeatedly asked at the time emergency services were called, at the time of her death and thereafter, you professed not to know, protesting you would not lie about something so serious, and thereby you added to the anxiety of her mother and family.”

In the early hours of March 11 2016 Burrill took Daisy-Mae downstairs at the damp, terraced home he shared with Ashlee, to feed her.

It was only 20 minutes since he had last fed the tot and he was irritated and frustrated that she would not settle.

But when he returned to the bedroom, telling Ashlee her daughter was unwell, he called Ashlee’s mother, Beverley Swindells, to come to the house, and raised the alarm with emergency services.

Mrs Swindells said: “When I first got the phone call from him asking to go to the house he was calm, so I didn’t panic. I just thought my granddaughter had caught her breath while she was crying and my daughter was panicking, as young mums do.”

But when she arrived at the house in Warren Street she saw Daisy-Mae ‘devastated’ on the floor and Ashlee desperately trying to resuscitate her baby daughter.

It was only when they arrived at hospital that Daisy-Mae’s mum and grandma were told her injuries were non-accidental.

Mrs Swindells said: ““I knew from the moment we were told what had happened to Daisy-Mae who was responsible. I could never be able to describe it but my gut reaction told me.

“I saw it in his eyes and when you know, you just know.”

Burrill showed no emotion as Mr Justice Goss outlined the tragic circumstances of Daisy-Mae’s young life.

Medical reports showed old injuries to her legs which were between five and 14 days old.

The judge said: “These injuries have not been the subject of any separate charges and have not been formally adjudicated on by the jury.

“However there can be no doubt Daisy-Mae would have been in pain and it is hardly surprising that in the days leading up to March 11 she was behaving as she was and was difficult to settle.”

In a victim impact statement, Ashlee told the court: ““From the moment John brought Daisy-Mae into my bedroom that morning I have been stuck in a nightmare that seems as if it will never end.

“Initially I was in shock Daisy had fractured her skull, then i felt disbelief it was non-accidental, then the awful realisation that there was only one person responsible.

“I have lost everything that was my life. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly since this happened, I have lost my home and I have spent the last months staying with family members.

“I have lost my friends as I now struggle to trust people. I feel unable to go out. I have isolated myself as I can’t cope with what has happened to me.

“I feel like people are judging me. The pressure of waiting for the trial has been unbearable.

“John never told anyone he was struggling to cope with Daisy-Mae. He never reached out at any point or asked for help.

“I will never understand why John has out his family through this hell when all the while he had it in his power to stop it.”

Ashlee was arrested on suspicion of wounding and later causing or allowing the death of a child.

She was later released without charge.

Burrill maintained he did not know how Daisy-Mae was injured until the morning he was due to stand trial for her murder when he admitted unlawfully killing his daughter.

He has never revealed the true extent of what happened on March 11.

Mrs Swindells said: “One person’s actions have turned our lives upside down. Just as we were celebrating the arrival of Daisy-Mae, she was taken from us, nine weeks later.

“He made a conscious decision from that moment to keep quiet about what had happened. “He has had numerous opportunities to come clean.

“I will never forgive him for not doing the right thing.”

Burrill will serve a minimum of 18 years before he is eligible for parole.