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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 14:27 GMT
Couple jailed for starving baby
A couple who slowly starved their 11-month-old daughter to death have been jailed for five years.

Neil and Alison Baker from Swindon pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Bristol Crown Court.

Health experts who examined baby Kimberley Baker's dead body described her as looking like a "famine-ravaged Third World baby".

Passing sentence the judge said: "The chance of life had been snuffed out by the appalling neglect of you two."

Police searching the Bakers' home following Kimberley's death on 26 April 2005, found squalid living conditions with excrement smeared on the walls and the property smelling of urine.

'Emaciated mite'

Mr Justice John Royce said: "She should have been by that time a thriving, lively 11-month-old girl. She was not.

"She was a pitiful, seriously emaciated mite.

"She was dehydrated and starving with severe ulceration on her buttocks and genitalia. Her weight was that of a six-week-old baby. Her skin fell loosely around her - the photos are truly shocking."

The court was told that three of Mrs Baker's other children have since been taken into care.

The suffering endured by Kimberley during the last week of her life was beyond comprehension
Det Insp Tim Corner

Det Insp Tim Corner from Wiltshire Police said: "This is a tragic case that has touched everyone involved.

"The death of a child under any circumstances is an emotionally traumatic occurrence. But a death caused by prolonged starvation at the hands of parents is all the more difficult to come to terms with.

"The suffering endured by Kimberley during the last week of her life was beyond comprehension.

"Our thoughts are with Kimberley Baker at this time."

Judith Barrett, a lawyer for Swindon Borough Council social services department, said: "This is a tragic case and has involved staff from a number of agencies who work with children across Swindon.

"A serious case review was undertaken by the Local Safeguarding Children Board. All agencies involved have contributed to it."


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