'What have you done to this child?' - paramedic asked Mansfield mother accused of scalding her 19-month-old daughter to death

Paramedics have described their frantic efforts to save the life of an 19-month-old Mansfield girl when they were called to her grandparent’s address after she sustained 65 per cent burns from scalding.

Friday, 20th November 2020, 5:34 pm

Her mother, Katie Crowder, is accused of deliberately scalding her daughter, Gracie, and then delaying getting help as she died to ‘cover her tracks.

Prosecutors have alleged that the child could not have sustained such severe burns through an accidental spill, as the 26-year-old claims.

Paramedics were called to the address of her parents in Wharmby Avenue, Mansfield - four doors down from where Crowder lived with her daughter - where they found the child covered in burns with her grandfather desperately performing CPR.

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Karen Crowder is accused of murdering her 19-month-old daughter Gracie
Karen Crowder is accused of murdering her 19-month-old daughter Gracie

Paramedic Elain Harpham was one of three ambulance crew called to the scene, along with Danielle Gullitt-Smith and Chris Dowsing.

She told the court: “I exited the ambulance while Danielle turned it around. Chris went to the property first and I was behind him.

“Someone let us in and we went into the living room and there were two adults in there, a male and a female. The male was crouching down over the patient, and the female was stood up.

“When we entered the room the male stood up and I could see the patient. She was lying on her back and appeared to be lifeless - she was red and covered in blotches and her skin appeared to be peeling away from her.

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“I said, ‘What have you done to this child?’ and the female replied, ‘I don’t know, I just found her like this,’ and shrugged her shoulders. The male then pointed at her and shouted repeatedly, ‘What have you done, what have you done?’ and she repeated, ‘I just found her like this’.

“When we got to the door, Danielle was walking towards us and I said, ‘Don’t come in, Danielle, she’s burned, we’re leaving’.

“The female came to get in the back of the ambulance and I told her she’d have to make her own way there.”

Earlier in proceedings, Prosecutor Sally Howes QC told the court: "Gracie was killed by a deliberate and unlawful act by her mother."

She described how Crowder appeared at her parents' nearby house in the early hours holding Gracie in her arms, shouting "she is dead", in the early hours of March 6 this year.

A post-mortem examination gave her cause of death as "scalds and thermal burns from exposure to hot liquid", Ms Howes said.

Crowder told officers she had been "cleaning up a mess from the puppy" and found her daughter face down in the bathroom next to a mop bucket.

But the court heard that it would have taken Gracie around an hour to die from her injuries and she would have been screaming.

Ms Howes added that Crowder had spent the hour before alerting her parents “covering her tracks”, cleaning up and and trying to come up with an excuse for what she had allegedly done.

During the second day of the trial, in a pre-written statement read out by the prosecution, EMAS worker Danielle Gullitt-Smith described the journey to King’s Mill Hospital, in Sutton.

She said: “The child’s skin was peeling off and she was covered in burns. The monitor showed a flatline - no signs of life.

“As we approached the hospital there were about 10 doctors and nurses waiting for us outside, and while I was still in A&E I heard someone say, ‘life extinct’.”

Crowder denies murder.

The case continues.

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