Oliver Saxby QC yesterday secured the conviction of Jasmine Gregory, a 24-year old mother of previous good character accused of the manslaughter by gross negligence of her 14-month old daughter, R.
At around 11am on 7th August 2014, Miss Gregory received a visit from her Outreach Worker, Carla Didcock. When Miss Didcock left at about 12pm, Miss Gregory was getting ready to bath her two young children, R and S. Two hours later, she rushed out of her front door shouting that R was dead. When someone came to help, she told them she had left R in the bath, unattended. Her estimates as to how long R had been left unattended varied from 5 to 10 minutes.
At trial, Miss Gregory chose not to give evidence but instead relied on the expert evidence of a consultant forensics psychiatrist, Dr Michael Alcock, who was called by the defence.
It was Dr Alcock’s opinion that Miss Gregory had a personality disorder – Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. The Crown’s expert, Dr Philip Joseph, could not rule this out, albeit it was his view that if she had such a Disorder, it was at the lower end of the spectrum.
When Dr Alcock gave evidence, he went further, however – observing that Miss Gregory’s inadvertence was understandable given her Disorder and the stressful circumstances prevailing at the time. To form this view, he had to accept at face value the account Miss Gregory had given to him about the circumstances prevailing at the time and what she did/why she forgot the baby.
In fact, there was a considerable amount of evidence suggesting it would not be safe to believe what Miss Gregory had said on either topic. Dr Alcock was duly challenged and cross-examined about this evidence, in some detail. Ultimately, he accepted he had no sound basis upon which to make such an assessment and accepted his opinion was flawed in this regard.
The jury took 2 hours to convict Miss Gregory, who was remanded in custody.
On Friday she was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.
Further news coverage of the case is below:-
The Daily Mail