A man found guilty of murdering his partner’s three year old daughter has been sentenced to life imprisonment - and told he must serve at least 20 years behind bars.
Delroy Catwell, aged 31, was jailed today at Sheffield Crown Court and told he will only be released when he is no longer a danger to the public.
Imposing a mandatory life sentence, Judge Nicola Davis said: “It is difficult to conceive of a greater abuse of trust than than which you perpetrated in killing this vulnerable and defenceless young girl.”
Wearing a blue tracksuit, Catwell sat impassively in the dock as he heard his fate.
Lylah’s mother Precious Chibanda watched from the public gallery and squeezed her brother’s hand as her ex partner was jailed.
The judge said Catwell attacked Lylah so violently she suffered brain damage, bruising and broken ribs.
She said areas of impact on Lylah’s head indicated she had suffered blows inflicted by Catwell’s fists, feet or a blunt object.
They could also have been caused by Lylah being propelled into a blunt object.
Her ribs were broken - consistent with squeezing.
The beautiful toddler, who had been due to attend a pyjama party at her nursery died in her mother’s arms at Sheffield Children’s Hospital on February 8.
Sheffield Crown Court heard he was ‘jealous’ of the time and attention Lylah’s loving mother, a trainee nurse, devoted to her little girl.
After the hearing Lylah’s uncle Keith Chibanda said “Justice has been done for our baby girl.”
CHILD KILLER FOUND GUILTY
A violent brute who murdered his three-year-old stepdaughter in a ‘sustained and forceful’ attack has been jailed for life and told to serve 20 years behind bars.
Delroy Catwell, aged 31, left little Lylah Aaron with brain damage, broken ribs and a body covered in bruises.
Jurors who found him guilty of murder were told Lylah suffered injuries consistent with being ‘punched, kicked and slapped’ and being ‘hit with a hard object’.
When the tot’s body was examined older fractures were also found.
Det Supt Dave Barraclough, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a particularly harrowing case for all concerned.
“Lylah was a happy, innocent girl, who was much loved by her family.
“Only a day before she was seen running and skipping around, like any other child of her age.
“It’s horrific that she was viciously murdered by Catwell, a man who should have been caring for her.”
Catwell lived with Lylah’s mum, Precious Chibanda, in her home on Beck Road, Shiregreen, Sheffield, and had been trusted to care for the little girl while Precious was at work as a trainee nurse in Derby.
She returned home from a shift to find her daughter asleep in bed, and Catwell claiming Lylah had been unwell.
When Precious checked on the youngster again she was unable to rouse her and dialled 999.
Catwell, who denied murder, accused Precious of causing the fatal injuries.
The mum’s frantic 999 call was played to jurors at Sheffield Crown Court where she could be heard pleading for her daughter to wake up.
Catwell - a father himself - was said in court to be jealous of the toddler he killed, complaining he felt ‘sidelined’ and accusing his partner of giving her ‘too much’ .
Bryan Cox QC, prosecuting, said Catwell told detectives Lylah had been full of energy and he ‘found it hard to deal with her at times’.