Mother of murdered toddler admits child cruelty

Home UK News Mother of murdered toddler admits child cruelty
Mother of murdered toddler admits child cruelty

The mother of a two-year old girl who was murdered by her on-off boyfriend has admitted a charge of child cruelty.

Ali Jayden Doyle died from head injuries she sustained in a house in the Park Avenue area of Dungannon in August 2021.

Ali Jayden’s mother, Jade Dempsey, who is 27, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Friday where it emerged that she left her daughter in the care of Darryn John Armstrong while she went to Belfast to collect a pram for her children.

On Tuesday, 35-year old Armstrong, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, was handed a life sentence after he pleaded guilty to murdering the toddler.

He initially blamed Ali Jayden’s one-year old brother for causing the fatal wound by throwing a toy at her, but has now admitted that whilst under the influence of drugs he threw Ali Jayden who hit her head on a fireplace.

Dempsey, whose address is the subject of a reporting restriction, was initially charged with two offences arising from her daughter’s death.

In court, her barrister Gavan Duffy KC addressed Mr Justice O’Hara and asked that his client be re-arraigned.

After confirming her identity to a court clerk, Dempsey was charged that on 6 August, 2021 she wilfully neglected and exposed her daughter in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

When asked how she pleaded, Dempsey replied “guilty.”

Crown barrister Ciaran Murphy KC said that in light of this plea which was “accepted”, the prosecution was leaving a charge of causing the death of a child by an unlawful act “on the books” and it will not now be proceeded with.

Mr Murphy also revealed he would be lodging victim impact statements ahead of sentencing.

Citing the circumstances of the case as “terrible”, Mr Duffy then told the court: “On the day on which the injuries were inflicted upon Ali Jayden, Ms Dempsey had just left to travel to Belfast to collect a pram which she had ordered for the children and that was the purpose of leaving them.

“She hadn’t left for very long when she got a call to return.”

Mr Duffy also described his client as a “very vulnerable young lady” and said the defence have obtained psychiatric and psychological reports which will be provided ahead of her being sentenced.

After ordering pre-sentence reports to be compiled on both Dempsey and Armstrong, Mr Justice O’Hara set the plea hearing for both defendants as Friday 28 June.

The senior judge then spoke to Dempsey as she stood in the dock and told her to return to court on that date for the plea.

When he asked Dempsey “do you understand?”, she replied “yes”.

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