The family of a mother who fed her new-born baby potentially lethal amounts of salt have said they will never forgive her.

Marie Graham also said that innocent members of the family have been verbally and physically abused by members of the public since the case came to court.

Her daughter, Rebecca Graham, 20, of South Moor near Stanley was jailed for 18 months at Newcastle Crown Court last week for cruelty to a child last week after she admitted mixing salt in her baby's bottle.

Since the case was first reported Marie and other members of the family, all entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, have been called child abusers and murders while walking in the street.

"I'm afraid to go out and we close our curtains to stop people peering in," said Mrs Graham, 40, speaking her home in Blackhill, Consett. "This is tearing two families apart. I loved that child more than anything and I can never sleep thinking I will never see her again."

Mrs Graham, who has been in counselling since Rebecca was first accused of the crime 18 months ago, explained that she had tried to adopt the child. However social services decided to place the girl, now nearly two and in good health, with another couple.

Now she says she will never forgive her daughter and has destroyed every single photograph she possessed of her. She added that at one point Rebecca actually accused her of the crime in an attempt to get off the hook.

Marie Graham said: "I hate Becky for what she has done. People might think I am callous for saying that but I loved that baby, I would have done anything for her. My daughter has ruined the lives of my family but also the other grandmother who is 73. What I can't forgive is her not saying, 'mam, I can't cope, can you look after the baby?' I would have loved to have had her full time."

Mrs Graham, who was granted a few last moments with her grandchild and treasures a watch the child played with at their last meeting, is now compiling a family photograph album for the toddler to keep when she is older.