A man who shook a baby to death after he learned his benefits had been stopped and drug dealers were putting pressure on him over a debt has been jailed for life.

Michael Daymond took his frustrations out on Maya Chappell after he lost control of his temper while he was looking after his new partner’s toddler.

The two-year-old’s mother, Dana Carr, has been locked up for turning a blind eye to the abuse which had been going on for a number of weeks before the youngster’s untimely death.

The 27-year-old was supposedly caring for Maya on the afternoon of September 28, when she fell seriously ill at their home in Shotton Colliery.

The Northern Echo: Maya ChappellMaya Chappell (Image: Contributor)

As paramedics and police carried out CPR, Daymond, who had rung Carr before dialling 999, was on the phone in another room concerned that his Universal Credit payments had been stopped.

Maya died two days later in Newcastle’s RVI hospital without regaining consciousness.

In a powerful victim impact statement, Maya’s great aunt outlined the pain and suffering the family had endured as a result of Daymond’s cruel and violent acts.

The Northern Echo: Michael DaymondMichael Daymond (Image: Durham Constabulary)

She branded Daymond a 'monster' after he showed no emotion during the trial.

"She was the youngest member of our family and for a year we have felt each day tormented not knowing what happened in the days leading up to her death," she said.

Calling the pair, cold and calculating, she said: "We hope that during that time (in prison) they are reminded of their despicable actions.”

Judge Mr Justice Bright, sitting at Teesside Crown Court, said Maya’s suffering had been going on for around five-weeks before her untimely death and nothing he could do or say would ease the family’s pain and suffering.

The judge has sentenced Daymond to life with a minimum term of 20 years as he continues to deny responsibility for the murder.

"This was a murder of a young child; she was particularly vulnerable because of her age. She had been left in your case and you abused that trust," he said.

"The jury were told they could convict you of murder if they were sure that you intended to inflict GBH and I am sure that this was their view, as regards your intent. 

"It is clear that this was not planned or premeditated.  It is not a case that involved abduction or any sexual motive.  Despite the cruelty with which Maya was treated, over a period of some weeks, I do not consider that you were motivated by sadism."

The Northern Echo: Dana CarrDana Carr (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Turning his attention to Carr, he said he accepted that she is consumed with grief and that she loved her daughter but called her a 'prodigious' liar who aimed to protect Daymond even though she knew he was causing her suffering - 'you lied to James Chappell, your stepfather, the nursery and your former employer'.

"There were numerous messages on your phone that could only have been sent by someone who knew May was being hurt by Daymond," he added.

The Northern Echo: Maya Chappell was murdered by her mother's boyfriend when he shook her violently while looking after the toddlerMaya Chappell was murdered by her mother's boyfriend when he shook her violently while looking after the toddler (Image: Newsquest)

Sentencing Carr to nine years for allowing the death of Maya, he said: "During the weeks leading up to Maya’s death, you lied repeatedly to James Chappell, to your stepfather Christopher Fellows, to Maya’s nursery and to your former employer.

"The lies you told these people were about the state of Maya’s health and about the causes of her bruises.

"They were mostly lies told to conceal the fact that Michael Daymond was responsible for Maya’s injuries and to prevent other people from having the opportunity to see the worst of them. These were lies told by someone who knew the extent of Maya’s injuries and who had caused them."

The court heard how Carr, formerly of Consett, County Durham, had given birth to another child after falling pregnant whilst on remand.

Toby Hedworth KC, representing Carr, told the judge that his client now saw Daymond's behaviour for what it was after watching his behaviour during the trial.

"This offending was as a result of her being blinded to what was going on, at the time, by the conduct of Daymond and the reassurances that he was giving her," he said.

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"She was not doing enough to intervene."

Nicholas Lumley KC, mitigating on behalf of Daymond, said there is nothing that can be said that can address the pain the family is feeling.

He added: "There was no sadistic motivations here. There was no substantial degree of premedication or planning."

He told the judge that his client's daughter turns seven today and urges him to be as lenient as he possibly could when passing sentence.