Monster who murdered toddler after saying ‘I want her gone’ jailed
A man who murdered a toddler after saying he "wants her gone" has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Ella-Rose Clover died at just 22-months-old last year, leaving two distraught siblings and her mum Pagan baffled about what had killed her
Michael Wild will serve 20 years behind bars after the conviction at Liverpool Crown Court today.
Sharleen Hughes was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child and two counts of perverting the course of justice.
She will be sentenced on Wednesday.
On Sunday 21 January 2018, Ella-Rose was rushed to hospital by paramedics after suffering from a medical episode but despite the best efforts of paramedics the toddler tragically passed away.
Pagan's friend Sharleen Hughes, 35, had stood aside as Michael Wild secretly battered the girl they had been entrusted to look after.
The horrific betrayal came to light during an eight week trial that found Wild guilty of murder.
The toddler's devastated mum said: "She was the craziest and most loving little girl.
"My whole world shattered when she died, and I know everyone who had ever come into contact with Ella felt the same pain.
"Losing her in the way we did is soul-destroying.”
The 26-year-old had been happy to leave Ella-Rose with Hughes, who was the girl's godmother
On many occasions the 35-year-old looked after the toddler while her mum worked at Manchester Airport.
When Wild turned up on the scene Pagan began to feel uneasy, urging her friend not to leave him alone with her daughter.
Pagan considered the man "not sociable" and feared for what he might do to her daughter.
Ella-Rose then began suffering from a string of mysterious health problems.
She was admitted to hospital five times between July and November 2017, with 'worrying symptoms of swelling and bruising around her face', thought to be a rare condition called haemorrhagic urticaria.
On November 2 she was taken to Manchester Royal Children's Hospital where doctors removed part of her bowel.
Two months later Pagan's fears were realised when Wild was left to look after her daughter by himself.
He subjected the girl to a horrific attack that would later kill her.
Despite telling a jury at Liverpool Crown Court he didn't know how she had got the injuries, text evidence showed him to be a liar.
“I suggest you get her [Ella] out of my house", he told Hughes in one exchange, just five days before the murder.
In another message, he said: “I want Ella gone, I swear to god.”
When Hughes returned to their Wythenshawe, Manchester house at 1.30pm she found Ella-Rose lifeless on the sofa and called 999.
The girl was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead at 2.57pm.
The pathologist concluded that Ella-Rose's death was caused by ‘heavy blows’ to the abdomen and found a number of bruises to both ears and to her face.
Paramedic Stephen Waters, who was first on the scene, said Ella-Rose had been wearing just a nappy, lying on the floor when he arrived at the house.
Hughes, who was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child and two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice, stood by her partner in court.
She described Wild’s relationship with Ella-Rose as 'lovely', adding: "He adored her. She would sit on his knee and kiss him.”
She even claimed that four days before she died Ella-Rose was calling Wild 'dad'.
The shocking betrayal has left Pagan emotionally "crushed".
“I'll never understand how someone could bring themselves to intentionally hurt someone, especially a baby," she said in an emotional testimoney.
“When it's someone so close to you it crushed you even more.
"They helped me with childcare so I could go to work to be able to provide for my little family.
“Never did I think that these people who I and Ella loved so much would hurt us in such a way."
The distraught mum spoke of how Hughes and Wild sat at Ella-Rose's bedside while doctors struggled to work out what was wrong.
"I trusted Mick and Sharleen beyond words," she added.
"These people sat in hospital with me many of the times when I begged doctors to help me find out what was wrong with Ella.
“The numerous hospital admissions and stay overs took its toll on me and my family. It made me ill.
“Every time doctors were so baffled and did all they could to get me answers and the whole time he knew. He was doing this, and took my little girl away from me and my family.
"My life will never ever be the same, but we finally have justice for Ella, and Mick will never be able to hurt another child again.
"I now have to somehow rebuild my life, but Ella will always be in my heart and my thoughts every day. I will do all I can to keep her memory positive."
The cause of Ella-Rose's medical problems was missed by doctors after a CT scan and skeletal survey didn't show further injuries.
At the same time, social services were reassured that doctors were investigating the medical problems.
Detective Chief Inspector Colin Larkin, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “This was one of the most traumatic cases my team has ever dealt with. How anyone could inflict such agony and trauma on a beautiful baby girl is beyond comprehension.
“Ella-Rose was systematically beaten over a long period of time by Wild – made even worse by the fact that it was concealed from her mother who regularly took her baby to the hospital over concerns for unexplained cuts and bruises.
“Wild and Hughes betrayed Ella-Rose and her family in the most horrific way imaginable. Hughes was also given the honour of being the baby girl’s godmother, a title she had absolutely no right to bare.
“Prison is the only place for people like Wild and whilst there is nothing we can do to bring Ella-Rose back, I hope today’s result, and whatever result we have on Wednesday, goes some way to helping her family move forward with their lives.”
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