A MAN who murdered a two-year old girl who had called him “daddy” has been sentenced to life in prison.
Grace Thorpe was left with bleeding on her brain, a broken leg, a fractured jaw, an internal tear to her bowel from punches or kicks to her abdomen, and bruises all over her body and face following the violent attack by Adam Jackson, aged 27. The attack happened shortly after Grace’s mother had left her in the care of Jackson.
Within minutes of her mother leaving the house, he attacked Grace – leaving the toddler with a catalogue of injuries that the pathologist said would have left her in, ”immediate and obvious pain”.
Upon her return, Jackson told mother, Alice Quine, that Grace had fallen out of her highchair.
At Teesside Crown Court Jackson, 27, admitted murder and was jailed for life with a minimum of 16-and-a-half years.
Judge Howard Crowson called it “a brutal, violent and painful assault” on Grace, who had called Jackson “Daddy”.
Grace was just two years old at the time of her death (Image: Family Handout•Cleveland Police)
Grace had multiple injuries, including a fractured skull and leg, and had bruises across her body, and Jackson had hit her at least seven times.
Mr Jackson did not immediately call 999, the court heard, but when he did he claimed the two-year-old had fallen from a faulty high chair.
However, a pathologist concluded the injuries were inflicted deliberately.
Grace was found in a critical condition at her home in Dale Street, in New Marske, on 10 November and she was flown to a specialist children’s unit in Newcastle, where she died the following day.
Speaking after sentencing, Alice Quine, Grace’s mother, said “I lost everything in that moment.”
She added: “My Grace was the happiest little girl who never wanted for anything, she was always content and smiling, her laugh was infectious.”
In the statement, the distraught mother added: “Grace loved and trusted Adam Jackson and he abused that in every way possible. I trusted him with my whole world and he took it away from me in a split second.”
Ms Quine also spoke of the impact the two-year-old’s death had had on Grace’s sister, saying they had shared the “most amazing bond and love for each other”.
She said: “Every birthday will be celebrated, every anniversary we will remember, every Christmas an empty chair will always be at the table because we know she will be there with us.”
Jackson will serve a minimum of 16 years in jail (Image: Getty Stock Image)
The prosecution said Jackson and Grace’s mother had been in a relationship for a year before the murder, and she had gone to work on the day of the murder.
Family and friends had initially liked him, and he moved in with her after lockdown.
But, prosecutor Nick Dry said Jackson would become bad-tempered if he did not have money for cannabis, which he used every day.
Hair samples from Grace showed she had been exposed to cannabis and cocaine, the court heard, and Ms Quine had previously asked Jackson to leave the house before they got back together.
Teeside has been left in shock at the brutal nature of the murder (Image: Getty Stock Image)
Peter Makepeace QC, defending, said Jackson, who had no previous convictions, did not intend to kill Grace, saying it had been a “spontaneous eruption of uncontrolled violence”.
Senior investigating officer, temporary Det Ch Insp Peter Carr, said Jackson tried to conceal what had happened, “even offering Grace chocolate buttons to try to appease her”.
The officer added: “He continued to lie to Grace’s family and to police to try to cover up what he had done.”
He also said: “Today’s guilty plea spares Grace’s family the pain of a lengthy trial but it does not take anything away from the fact that Adam Jackson caused the death of a young toddler who had her whole life ahead of her.
Concluding, the officer added: “Grace’s family will live with that loss every day.”