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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 17:51 GMT
Man jailed for daughter's murder
Murder victim, three-year-old Amelia Hall
Amelia died two days before her fourth birthday
A man who killed his daughter using chloroform after his wife had an affair with a judge has been jailed for life.

Hospital radiographer Gavin Hall, 33, killed three-year-old Amelia at their Northamptonshire home.

Hall, of Grey Street, Irchester, was convicted of murder at Northampton Crown Court after his guilty plea to manslaughter was thrown out.

After killing Amelia, Hall tried to kill himself. He will serve a minimum term of 15 years.

The court heard Amelia's mother and sister were asleep upstairs while Hall carried out the murder.

Smothered daughter

He had fed Amelia, known as Millie, anti-depressant pills to make her drowsy, before smothering her on 29 November last year.

He sat and cuddled his daughter for over an hour then smothered her with a rag soaked with the chloroform, before strangling her as she lay dying from the effects of the anaesthetic chemical.

Hall's wife, Joanne Hall, now known as Joanne Rainsley, found her daughter dead under a duvet on the living room floor the following morning.

Gavin Hall
Gavin Hall had been off work on sick leave

Millie died two days before her fourth birthday.

Jurors heard the discovery of his wife's affair with a married part-time judge sparked his emotional breakdown which led to the killing.

Miss Rainsley met the married father, who was a solicitor and part-time judge, through a sex contact website for married people in September last year.

The pair exchanged pictures of themselves naked and described in graphic detail fantasies of what they wanted to do with each other.

After repeated email conversations between the pair, they arranged to meet in Northampton - while the judge was on a residential legal course.

Sick leave

Defence counsel Nicholas Atkinson QC said Hall demanded to read all the emails after discovering the affair last year.

Despite constant reassurances that the fling was over, the judge and Hall's wife continued to have contact, the court heard.

Off work on sick leave and having been prescribed anti-depressants, Hall fed Millie one of the pills to make her drowsy, before murdering her.

Hall then tried to kill himself with the chloroform and cut his neck, thighs and arms.

Joanne Hall, now known as Joanne Rainsley
Millie will always be remembered as a happy, lively and beautiful little girl
Joanne Rainsley, Millie's mother

Speaking on the steps of the court, Joanne Rainsley refused to mention her former husband by name but paid tribute to her "beautiful little girl".

She said: "It is incomprehensible to us as to how anyone under any such circumstances could deliberately take away such a beautiful little girl as Millie.

"Millie will always be remembered as a happy, lively and beautiful little girl and I am proud to have been her mum.

"Assisted by my family, as always, my focus now will be to devote attention to (Millie's sister) Lucy who has mercifully survived this ordeal. It will be my intention to ensure that she carries only the positive memories that we all share of Millie."

Hall was convicted by a jury at Northampton Crown Court after a six-day trial.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Amelia's mother pays tribute to the child



SEE ALSO
Suffocation jury hears sex emails
01 Nov 06 |  Northamptonshire
Girl killed after 'Romeo' moment
31 Oct 06 |  Northamptonshire
Girl killed 'because she woke up'
30 Oct 06 |  Northamptonshire
Father suffocated three-year-old
27 Oct 06 |  Northamptonshire

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