A father who fatally injured his baby daughter when he threw her into her cot 21 years ago has been cleared of her murder.
Dean Smith, 46, now of Bushey, Watford, Hertfordshire, threw four-week-old Maisie Newell 6ft into her cot in August 2000, causing her to receive horrific head injuries from which she never recovered.
Maisie, who was subsequently adopted by another family, was left disabled by the incident and died shortly before her 14th birthday on June 28 2014.
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Smith had pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murdering his daughter, saying he never intended to hurt her.
He was acquitted of the murder charge following a twelve-hour deliberation by the jury at a retrial at the Old Bailey.
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The defendant appeared emotional in the dock as the verdict was delivered after jurors had been given a majority direction on Monday.
Judge Mark Lucraft QC said it had been a “difficult case” as he adjourned sentencing until November 12.
The court heard how Smith, now of Bushey, Watford, Herts, had initially been jailed for three years in 2001 after admitting grievous bodily harm without intent.
Following Maisie’s death, Smith was arrested and bailed and in 2016 he was informed that police were taking no further action.
But in February 2019, five years after his arrest, he was charged with Maisie’s murder.
Jurors were told that at the time of the original offence, Smith had an anti-social personality disorder associated with impulsivity, poor emotional regulation and increased hostility towards others.
Previously in evidence, Smith described himself as a “lowlife scumbag”.
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He had admitted tossing his daughter 6ft into her cot at the family home in Edgware, north London, after she did not stop crying.
He told jurors he had asked his partner not to go out that day because he was feeling “anxious” and “on edge”.
He told her: “I don’t feel myself.
“Don’t leave me with a f***ing screaming baby,” the court heard.
After fatally injuring Maisie, stonemason Smith lit a cigarette, drank a beer and played on his PlayStation until his partner returned home and notice she was “pale”.
Smith said she became “hysterical” and told him not to come clean about what happened for fear of losing both their children to care.
On learning of Maisie’s death nearly 14 years later, the defendant said he “broke down”.
“I think I’m a lowlife scumbag.
“I cannot believe I did it.
“I’m disgusted in myself.
“I wish it was me, not her,” he said.