Couple convicted after death of toddler

5th November 2018

Couple convicted after death of toddler

TWO people have been convicted of causing or allowing the death of a nineteen-month old girl.

Ellie May Minshull-Coyle died after she was caged and forcibly restrained inside a cot at her home in Lostock Hall, near Preston.

A jury at Liverpool Crown Court heard how on the night of March 22nd/23rd 2017 blankets & ligatures were used to tie the toddler into her bed. A duvet was then placed over her meaning that she was unable to properly regulate her body temperature. At some point she stopped breathing and her heart stopped.

Police were called to the address on Ward Street on March 23rd 2017 by paramedics who were treating Ellie May. She was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital but sadly died a short time later.

A post mortem examination concluded the cause of death was “forcible restraint by ligatures in a facedown position complicated by hyperthermia”.

Ellie May’s mother Lauren Coyle, 19, her boyfriend Reece Hitchcott, 20, were found guilty after a trial of causing or allowing the death of a child and child neglect. They were found not guilty of manslaughter. Lodger Connor Kirby, also 20, was found not guilty of all charges.

Detective Chief Inspector Zoe Russo, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said:

“This case has been the most distressing that myself and the team have ever had to deal with. To think of the suffering that this little girl was put through by those people that should have loved, cared for and protected her is heart-breaking. This was an entirely unnecessary, pointless and avoidable death of a child.

I would like to thank Ellie May’s father and grandparents for the dignity with which they have conducted themselves throughout this investigation & trial. I hope this verdict means that they feel some level of justice for the death of Ellie May has been achieved and our thoughts remain with them.”

Ellie May’s father John Minshull said: “Ellie May was a wonderful little girl, she was so special to everyone around her. She was always happy & the best daughter anyone could ask for. The fact that she was taken away from us broke our hearts because she was loved & she will be missed deeply. She is always in our minds every single day”.

Coyle and Hitchcott will be sentenced on November 16th.