JULY 2011

Abusive Thornton Heath couple jailed for ill-treating toddler

An abusive step-mother who permanently brain damaged a toddler has been sentenced to four years in prison at Croydon Crown Court.

Mohammed Diarra from Thornton Heath was less than three years old when he was rushed to hospital with a broken rib, fractured leg, severe liver and pancreas injuries and brain damage last March.

The jury found his step-mother Gnagne Sangare, 27, was responsible for the string of injuries by either assault, ill treatment or neglect, while his 36-year-old father Adama had contributed to the damage to Mohammed’s rib. Adama was sentenced to eight months in jail on July 11.

The little boy was just two-years and 10-months-old when he received the injuries which lead to severe, permanent structural brain damage.

Mohammed suffered at the hands of the Sangares just months after coming to live with the couple in Winterbourne Road when his HIV-positive mother died. He was born after his father had an extra-marital affair.

The court heard Adama had passed the AIDS virus to his wife and one of their own children, but only discovered he had the disease – and another child – after the death of his former lover.

His wife admitted she had been angry when she discovered the affair and learned of her illness, but denied treating Mohammed differently from the couple’s three other children, who have been taken into care.

She claimed she did not know how he was injured, suggesting he might have fallen down the stairs or off his bunk bed.

The court he would have been in such pain he would have cried when he was being dressed or held.

Detective Sergeant James Willis, from Child Abuse Investigation Team, Wallington, said: “This small child was horribly neglected by these parents and had suffered horrendous injuries. Thankfully they brought him into hospital that night and the medical professionals were able to spot this abuse before it went any further.

“It is hard to grasp why any parent, even as a step-parent, would want to treat a small vulnerable child so abhorrently and I am glad today that this verdict means that no child can come to harm at the hands of these people.”