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Last Updated: Friday, 10 August 2007, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Mother jailed for girl's murder
Sharon Wright and Peter McKenzie-Seaton
Wright and McKenzie-Seaton will serve a minimum of 23 years

A mother and her boyfriend have been jailed for murdering her four-year-old daughter in West Yorkshire.

Sharon Wright, 23, and 22-year-old Peter McKenzie-Seaton were both given life terms for killing Leticia Wright and each will serve at least 23 years.

Leticia had 100 separate injuries when she died and the judge at Bradford Crown Court said she had suffered "deliberate and grotesque cruelty".

She was found dying in her Almondbury Bank home in November last year.

Window 'vigil'

During the four-week trial, the jury was told Leticia's injuries were equivalent to a major road traffic accident.

Her body was covered from head to toe in injuries, which police believe were inflicted in the last four weeks of her life.

The fatal injuries were inflicted two or three days before the little girl's death.

Leticia Wright

Following her death, forensic officers found clumps of Leticia's hair in a wheelie bin outside the house, while traces of her blood were found inside.

Wright blamed Seaton, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire, for the injuries, accusing him of going into a rage because he did not have any cannabis.

The court heard he smoked up to 140 worth of skunk - a potent form of the drug - every week.

In the weeks before the death, the girl was seen standing as if in a "vigil" at her bedroom window.

Witnesses said Leticia looked sad but would smile and wave back at the neighbours who waved up at her.

The court heard two neighbours were so concerned they rang social services.

Certain aspects could have been handled differently
Paul Johnson
Kirklees Council

Two social workers from Kirklees Council visited the house and met Leticia and her mother.

Linda Blackie and Nicola Stephenson found Leticia to be of normal weight with no obvious marks, but she was initially quiet and when asked to fetch her toys she came back with hair grabs and a pink cup.

After checking back that Leticia had been registered with a local nursery, her file was closed.

She stopped attending the school after one week.

'I don't like Mummy'

The court heard that at one point Leticia complained to two of her aunts - the sisters of her natural father Zaheer Hussain - that Seaton would come to her room and smack her.

She also told them: "I don't like Mummy".

The worst violence is believed to have started after a visit from a health worker on 24 October, 2006.

When they got together they were a fatal combination . . . Leticia was in the way
Det Supt Paul Taylor

Det Supt Paul Taylor, who led the investigation, said the couple were a "fatal combination".

He said: "Sharon Wright was a very heavy-handed, unloving, uncaring mother.

"What we also know is that Peter Seaton was a man of violence, and he was pretty inadequate in a lot of ways.

"As individuals they were unpleasant people. When they got together they were a fatal combination.

"They wanted to be together and... Leticia was in the way."

Paul Johnson, head of safeguarding at Kirklees Council and a member of the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board, defended the local authority's handling of the case.

He said a council review carried out by an "independent professional" concluded Leticia's death "could not have been foreseen".

But he conceded "certain aspects could have been handled differently".




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The Huddersfield house where Leticia Wright lived



SEE ALSO
Partner 'hit girl in drug rages'
25 Jul 07 |  Bradford
Girl, 4, killed by 'brutal' abuse
12 Jul 07 |  Bradford

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