Mansfield child murder: Timeline of events from the murder trial of killer mum Katie Crowder
Killer mum Katie Crowder has been sentenced to a minimum of 21 years in prison at Nottingham Crown Court for pouring scalding water over her 19-month-old daughter Gracie.
The 26-year-old committed the murder in the early hours of March 6 this year at the home they shared in Wharmby Avenue, Mansfield, and then watched her die while high on cocaine.
She then rushed the lifeless toddler to her parents’ home to raise the alarm, claiming she had found Gracie unconscious in the bathroom next to an overturned mop bucket.
Here is a timeline of events:
August 2018: Crowder gave birth to Gracie.
March 2019: At some stage Crowder took an overdose and the woman she was living with threw her out. Crowder moved in with her parents in Wharmby Avenue.
June 2019: Around this time, Crowder moved into her own home a few doors down on Wharmby Avenue. She attended a number of community events and was described as a good and caring mother. Around this time, Crowder also got involved with Sure Start and Mansfield-based drug support charity Change Grow Live.
December 2019: By the end of the year, Crowder had started using cocaine heavily again - although she claimed to only use it once a month. She lied to support workers from both organisations, claiming she was drug-free, but struggling with her addiction. She told her support worker that she was having dark thoughts, and thoughts about hurting someone.
January 2020: Crowder had started a new relationship and was at odds with her family over her care of Gracie.
February 2020: Crowder missed a group support session and didn't answer a call from her Sure Start support worker. She later contacted her to say she was at her grandfather’s house.
March 5: Crowder contacted her Sure Start support worker to cancel Gracie’s first dental appointment, saying that Gracie was unwell. It was rebooked for March 19. Later that day, she dropped Gracie at her parents’ house and went home alone. A Facebook row erupted between Crowder and other family members and she spent much of the evening texting her girlfriend, expressing her anger at her family and a desire to take her own life. She collected Gracie at around 9pm that night and put her to bed.
March 6: The only person who knows for sure what happened in the early hours of March 6 is Crowder herself. We also don’t know whether Crowder took three lines of cocaine before or after the attack. Paramedics arrived at around 6.15am and Gracie arrived at King’s Mill Hospital at around 6.30am, where A&E medics fought to save her life for around 40 minutes, before pronouncing her dead at 7.10am.
Meanwhile, police had attended Wharmby Avenue shortly after paramedics left the scene - calling first to Crowder’s parents’ home, before being redirected to Crowder’s home, where she had returned. Officers performed a brief search of the property before taking her to King’s Mill, where she met her sister and smoked outside. At around 7.15am, the officers were notified that Gracie was dead and that another unit was on its way to arrest her on suspicion of murder. They arrived at around 7.30am and went to the side room that Crowder was now sitting in with her sister. She was told of Gracie’s death and broke down, and was then immediately read her rights. She assaulted one of the officers and was walked to an awaiting police car cuffed.
Later that morning, Crowder had her clothing removed for examination by two custody officers, and was heard to say that her trousers were wet because she had been getting Gracie out of the bath. That evening she underwent the first of her police interviews. Scene of crime officers also made their first examination of Crowder’s home.
March 7: Crowder underwent more police interviews, claiming she had found Gracie unconscious on the bathroom floor next to an overturned mop bucket. She was formally charged with murder.
March 8: Scene of Crime made a second examination of her home.
March 9: Crowder made her first appearance before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, where the case was then sent to Nottingham Crown Court. Crowder was remanded in custody until her trial date. Over the following months the case was prepared and scientific examinations took place. It was established by Home Office Pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton, assisted by a burns expert and a pediatrician that Gracie had received burns to 65 per cent of her body. And her cause of death was recorded as from injuries due to scalding.
November 19: Crowder’s trial begins at Nottingham Crown Court and evidence was presented from the prosecution until Friday, December 4, when the jury retired to consider its verdict.
November 23: After three days of deliberations, Crowder was found guilty of murder by unanimous verdict. The Judge adjourned the case to reconsider all of the medical evidence before passing sentence.
March 16: A little over a year after Crowder killed Gracie, she was sentenced to serve a minimum of 21 years in prison. She will be at least 47 years old when she next sees the light of day. The judge warned her that this is a minimum term and her release will be determined by a parole board in 2041. He told her that she will only be released if she is deemed to no longer be a risk to society, and that she may never be set free.
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