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Folkestone careworker Paul Marsh on trial for manslaughter of Jessica Dalgleish, 3


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A careworker has gone on trial accused of killing a three-year-old girl after she refused to eat her lunch.

Jessica Dalgleish, who can be named after a High Court judge ruled as unlawful a previous banning order, is alleged to have died at the hands of residential care worker Paul Marsh following an incident in December 2019.

Paul Marsh is accused of killing Jessica Dalgleish Stock picture
Paul Marsh is accused of killing Jessica Dalgleish Stock picture

Marsh, 27, at the time living in Wilberforce Gardens, Sandgate, but now living in Hythe, denies manslaughter and cruelty to a child.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight QC told Maidstone Crown Court that Marsh had become "increasingly angry and frustrated" looking after Jessica.

"The Crown’s case is that Marsh began to assault Jessica when angry with her and that these assaults led to her sustaining bruising.

"On December 21 Marsh, angered by Jessica’s refusal to eat her lunch, carried her upstairs and assaulted her once more, probably by throwing her forcefully down onto her bed.

"That caused her head to be struck against the head-board or side of the bed, causing the serious head injury that led directly to Jessica’s death. "

She claimed that shortly after 3pm on that day Marsh sent Jessica's mother a Facebook message asking her to call him.

"He told her that Jessica had fallen down the stairs and that she seemed dazed and had her arm at a funny angle. She told him to call an ambulance immediately. Marsh seemed reluctant, but she urged him repeatedly to do so. "

At 3.10pm Marsh called 999 and told the emergency operator that Jessica was breathing but seemed dazed.

He added that he had been downstairs when he’d heard bangs and had run up the stairs and found her on the floor.

The prosecutor told the jury how paramedics discovered the child lying on the sofa in the living room and assessed the injury as life threatening and she was airlifted to King's College Hospital in London.

'On December 21 Marsh, angered by Jessica’s refusal to eat her lunch, carried her upstairs and assaulted her once more, probably by throwing her forcefully down onto her bed...'

There it was noted that Jessica had suffered a "catastrophic brain injury" and doctors were unable to save her and on Christmas Eve her life support machine was turned off.

A paediatric doctor noted Jessica had multiple bruises to her face and a fracture was noted at the base of the back of her head on the right-hand side.

The prosecutor told the jury that experts believed the possibility of the injuries caused by a fall down stairs was "implausible"

Ms Knight claimed: "The fatal head injury to Jessica was the result of a severe blunt impact to the back of the head, such as would arise if she was thrown to the ground or against some solid upright structure."

The trial continues.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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