Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 12:57 UK

Family relives toddler's killing

By Ruth Clegg
BBC News

Demi Leigh Mahon's parents, Gary Mahon and Ann Marie McDonald
Demi Leigh's father said he feared the worst the moment he saw her

"No parent wants to see their children die before they do."

These were the words spoken by Demi Leigh Mahon's grandmother the day before a 15-year-old was convicted of the two-year-old's murder.

Frances Gillon saw her "dainty and mischievous" granddaughter on a life support machine two days after the attack on 15 July last year.

She had been beaten and bitten and had 68 separate injuries and died a few days later.

Her killer managed to inflict them on her in just 90 minutes while her mother went out to pick up her benefits.

Grieving father Gary Mahon said he still had dreams about his little girl.

In his head he can picture her running around and playing and then sees her little coffin getting carried down the aisle, again and again.

Recalling the time he spent in hospital with her, he said: "I was devastated, it was just horrible.

"She just had so many injuries, the back of her head was so swollen and she had black and dark bruising everywhere.

How could someone do that to a little girl, she was only little and dainty, it won't have taken much to hurt her
Frances Gillon

"I knew from the moment I saw her that she was not going to live through it.

"I couldn't believe that someone had done this.

"Every time I left the hospital for a breather, I knew I had to go back in and see her.

"She was so beautiful and always smiling with these bright blue eyes."

Mr Mahon's feelings towards the boy that killed her are not of forgiveness. "He took away my little girl," he said.

"I do think he is evil, and he should be put away for life. He should be left on an island all by himself with no exit route."

His mother, Ms Gillon, said she never wants to see her granddaughter's killer walk free.

"How could someone do that to a little girl? She was only little and dainty, it won't have taken much to hurt her," she said.

"I won't ever be able to forgive him, not with a child so small and defenceless.

"He took a little girl's life away, it's just disgusting.

"I cope by trying to push things to the back of my mind. I think he should be shut away for life.

"He could repent in later life but that's too late for our Demi Leigh."



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