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Cocaine-Using Mum ‘Scalded Daughter To Death And Covered Her Tracks For At Least An Hour’

A cocaine-using mum has allegedly scalded her 19-month-old daughter to death and then covered her tracks for at least an hour, a court has heard. 

Gracie Crowder died shortly after being rushed to the hospital on March 6, as she had suffered from deep burns that covered 65 per cent of the toddler’s body area.

Her mum Katie Crowder has been accused of murdering the child by exposing her to fatally hot water at her home in Mansfield. She then spent the next hour “clearing up” before taking her to parents’ house on the same street.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that on arrival at Paul and Karen Crowder’s home, the 26-year-old sounded “panicked” as she knocked on their door calling out “she’s dead, she’s dead.”

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Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said that after Gracie had been scalded, she suffered from a cardiac arrest. She then went on to say how Crowder’s mum said: “what the hell have you done?”. She responded: “I don’t know, I found her like this.”

The jurors heard how the defendant told the police she’d been “cleaning up a mess from the puppy” when she found her daughter face down in the bathroom next to a mop bucket.

However, the prosecution said that a Home Office pathologist concluded that if this was the case, the child would have cried out “vigorously” until the pain had been relieved. She would also not have suffered organ failure for around an hour.

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On Thursday, Ms Howes said in opening the case: “It is the Crown’s case that you can be sure Gracie Crowder was killed by a deliberate and unlawful act by her mother.

“Gracie Crowder’s death was not an instant death. It would have taken in the region of one hour for her to die.

“You may ask – why the delay in calling for help?

“It is the Crown’s case that the delay was Katie Crowder covering her tracks – she knew what she had done.

“She was clearing up, she was clearing away, she was thinking about a way of explaining what she had done.”

Ms Howes told the jury that cocaine had been discovered in Crowder’s blood four hours after the incident. This was consistent with the defendant having taken the Class A drug an hour before Gracie’s death.

The court then heard how the defendant had made comments about her child in the past, such as “I need to get her to nursery, I never get a break at all.”

The mum was arrested in King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. When she was being cautioned, she reportedly said: “What? I would never hurt her.”

Crowder has denied a single charge of murder and the trial continues.

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