A mother who had been accused of murdering her daughter has had the murder charge against her withdrawn, after the prosecution pointed the finger of blame squarely at her co-accused.
Abigail Leatherland, 26, formerly of Mansfield, has been on trial at Truro Crown Court alongside Tom Curd, 31, from Watford.
Leatherland’s daughter Eve died in October 2017 after being given a fatal dose of codeine.
She was also found to have suffered numerous fractures and a lacerated liver, said to have been inflicted in two separate attacks.
Prosecution barrister Sean Brunton QC said at the start of the trial that he was unsure as to which of the defendants killed Eve, but having heard the evidence has reconsidered.
On Wednesday morning (March 27) , the jury were told that having reviewed the evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service would be offering no evidence against Leatherland relating to the murder charge.
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The jury was asked by judge Mrs Justice May to record a formal not guilty verdict.
She is however still on trial charged with manslaughter by gross negligence and causing or allowing the death of a child.
Mr Brunton told the jury: “This has been a significant development and you are owed an explanation.
“The prosecution has decided to withdraw count one (murder) against Abigail Leatherland and we say it was Tom Curd who murdered Eve. He assaulted her repeatedly and poisoned her bit by bit and killed her. He must have intended her at least serious harm.
“We say Abigail Leatherland did not assault her, did not medicate her and did not want her to die or suffer serious harm.
“We say it would be wrong to continue with a murder charge against Abigail Leatherland as it is not a fair reflection of what happened.
“We did not have CCTV and we weren’t there but various options and scenarios have emerged during the trial.
“Tom Curd clearly killed Eve. He assaulted her and had good reason to dope her.
“This does not mean Abigail Leatherland is innocent and without liability. We say she failed Eve and did so in a big way because she heard, saw or sensed what was happened and looked away, buried her head in the sand.
“She did nothing and failed to seek what Eve obviously needed. Medical assistance.”
Leatherland denies manslaughter by gross negligence and causing or allowing the death of a child.
Curd denies murder, manslaughter by gross negligence and causing or allowing the death of a child.
The trial continues.
Day One: Trial starts into death of Mansfield Woodhouse toddler
Day Two: Murder trial told Mansfield toddler was beaten, poisoned and left to die
Day Three: Mansfield toddler was cold and blue when paramedics arrived to save her
Day Four: Murder accused ‘laughed and joked’ as Mansfield toddler lay dead in a hospital bed
Day Five: Jury told Mansfield toddler had enough codeine in her system to kill an adult
Day Six: Mansfield toddler suffered 12 rib fractures and two skull fractures in the days before she died
Day Seven: Trial told Mansfield toddler could have been saved if paramedics were called earlier
Day Eight: Murder-accused mum tells of her bond with dead Mansfield toddler