Thug who murdered baby with ‘direct and forceful blows’ to skull jailed for life

At thug who murdered a 12-month-old baby with ‘direct and forceful blows’ to her skull has been jailed for life.

Jamie Chadwick, 22, was convicted of the murder of Orianna Crilly-Cifrova – who was left with ‘catastrophic’ injuries to her skull following the violent attack.

The child’s mother, Chelsea Crilly, 20, was cleared of allowing the death of her 12-month-old daughter, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Prosecutors told Manchester Crown Court that Ms Crilly had been warned that Chadwick, her boyfriend who is not Orianna’s father, could pose a danger to the child.

He was being investigated by police in relation to injuries suffered by another child, a probe which was ultimately dropped.

Ms Crilly left the flat in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, with Chadwick’s sister to go to the doctors, the court was told.

Later the same day, on October 16 last year, Orianna was rushed to hospital after Crilly and the defendant’s sister returned to their flat in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, to find her strapped in her pram but “floppy” and “completely white”.

Orianna had sustained the injuries from two ‘direct and forceful blows’.

They were consistent with either being picked up and swung, hit ‘very hard’ with a blunt object or having someone stamp on her head, jurors heard.

A post mortem revealed the baby had also suffered injuries including fractured ribs and spine at least two days earlier.

Chadwick was initially arrested on suspicion of assault and was subsequently further arrested on suspicion of murder following Orianna’s death.

A judge said there was a ‘prolonged deception’ of social workers, with professionals not being told the truth about Chadwick having contact with Orianna.

Chadwick – who was not Orianna’s father – once hid under a bed when a social worker visited them, Manchester Crown Court heard.

He brutally attacked Orianna in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, on October 16 last year, after being left alone for an hour at the flat he shared with his partner, Chelsea Crilly.

Afterwards, Chadwick strapped Orianna back into her pram and left her to die.

Chadwick then lied about what had happened, at first telling police he was not at the Cross Lane flat where Orianna was injured.

He then claimed it had been a ‘tragic accident’ and at trial he tried to blame Miss Crilly, 20.

Mrs Justice Yip told Chadwick, who was convicted of murder by a jury last week: “This was a cowardly final effort by you to escape the consequences of what you had done,”

“The jury saw through your blatant lies.”

Chadwick, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years in prison.

Orianna’s mum, Chelsea Crilly, 20, has been acquitted of causing or allowing the death of a child.

The court heard that Chadwick began a relationship with Miss Crilly, something which became a ‘source of concern’ to the authorities.

Chadwick was investigated by police in relation to injuries suffered by another child, referred to as Baby T, but that probe was later dropped.

Mrs Justice Yip told him: “While you remained under investigation, it was made clear to you that you were to avoid contact with children.

“Certainly, you well knew you were not to be left with a child in your sole care.”

Chadwick lied to a probation officer, telling them he had no contact with Orianna.

While pointing out Chadwick was never charged with an offence, the judge said him being found guilty of Orianna’s murder ‘strengthens the suspicion’ that he was responsible for Baby T’s injuries.

Orianna was described as being ‘clever’ and ‘funny’, and healthcare professionals who visited her said she was ‘generally happy’.

But prior to the fatal attack, she had suffered fractured ribs and a fractured vertebra in her neck.

The judge said it was not clear who was responsible for those injuries.

Duncan Thorpe, Senior Investigating Officer of GMP’s Major incident Support Unit, said: “This is a heart breaking case in which an innocent baby was murdered by a man who should have cared for her and our thoughts are with the family at this incredibly distressing time.

“Little Orianna was found to have extremely severe head injuries, and the explanation given by Chadwick as to how she received these injuries was not compatible with the evidence.

“It’s absolutely horrific that anyone could inflict such an attack on an innocent baby but Orianna will never be forgotten.

“I am confident that today we have managed to secure her some justice and Orianna will certainly not be forgotten by our investigation team.”