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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August 2005, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Life sentence for toddler murder
Darren Bennett
Darren Bennett has a history of attacks on women and children
A 26-year-old Birmingham man has been jailed for life for murdering his girlfriend's 18-month-old daughter.

The city's crown court heard how Darren Bennett delivered a "catastrophic" blow to Jordan McGann's skull last August.

Jordan's mother Sarah Collins, 25, was cleared of manslaughter earlier in the trial but admitted two counts of child cruelty and was jailed for 18 months.

The judge ordered that Bennett, who has a previous conviction for child abuse, should serve a minimum of 24 years.

'Common thread'

A jury of eight women and four men at Birmingham Crown Court took nearly nine hours to return a unanimous verdict on the murder charge.

Bennett was also found guilty of three counts of child cruelty on three young children, including Jordan, who died in hospital on 7 August 2004.

The court heard how he was convicted and jailed for three years in 2002 for assaulting an ex-girlfriend's three-year-old daughter.

Bennett's previous record for violence, which also included attacks on women, was used by the prosecution to secure the conviction.

Jordan McGann
Bennett claimed Jordan had a fit after falling down the stairs

Prosecutor Timothy Raggatt QC argued there was a "common thread" in his behaviour.

Bennett had denied killing Jordan, claiming she suffered an epileptic fit following a previous fall down the stairs at the home he shared with Collins in the south east Birmingham area.

Sentencing Bennett, Mrs Justice Cox said: "I regard you as someone who poses a considerable danger to women and young children and from whom the public requires protection.

"I'm satisfied that you deliberately inflicted upon her severe head injuries, most probably by gripping and vigorously shaking and slamming her head against a hard surface to fracture her skull."

Speaking outside court, Jordan's father, Gary McGann, said he and his family were "half-way happy" with the sentence and the minimum tariff.

But the 25-year-old said: "Twenty-four years is nothing. She (Jordan) is not going to be here in 24 years."

Mother denies baby girl's murder
12 Nov 04 |  West Midlands
Two appear over toddler's murder
09 Aug 04 |  England

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