A 31-year-old U.K. man is currently on trial for the murder of his 4-year-old daughter, Alexa-Marie Quinn.
Carl Wheatley, a former supermarket worker, had gained full custody of the child only three months prior to her death in March 2014, according to Daily Mail. He has denied the murder charge and instead admitted to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Christopher Donnellan QC told the court: “Alexa-Marie Quinn died from a severe beating from her father, Carl Wheatley, on March 12, 2014. He lost his temper with her. She was just 4-and-a-half years old.”
Wheatley was confirmed as Alexa’s father in 2012 following a paternity test. Alexa had previously been removed from her mother’s care and was living with foster parents prior to Wheatley gaining custody.
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The prosecution insisted that the authorities were not to blame for the terrible incident.
"You will hear from a number of agencies over why Mr. Wheatley was given custody of Alexa in the first place and why there wasn't more supervision," Donnellan told the jury. "It will be suggested that this could have prevented Alexa's death. But the defendant made his own choices. He chose to not contact anyone for help."
The events of March 12, 2014, were recounted to the court. Wheatley called emergency services just after 9 a.m., but prosecutors allege that by this time, Alexa had been dead for hours. Wheatley claimed that she had stopped breathing only minutes earlier, Mirror Online reported.
A pathologist concluded that Alexa died as a result of “extreme blunt force trauma” caused by a "period of sustained beating."
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“He destroyed so many cells under the skin in the lower torso and legs that fat was released to her lungs," Donnellan stated in court. "It blocked her lungs, and she suffered a lung embolism. Death followed rapidly.”
"In the weeks before she died, when he hit her, he hit her hard, and he hit her more and more," Donnellan added. "He went to considerable lengths to avoid Alexa-Marie being seen by anyone. He knew at the time what he was doing and that he was causing her harm -- harm that was visible to the paramedics who witnessed the level of bruising to her lower body. That is why we say the charge in this case is murder."
Donnellan went on to accuse Wheatley of being motivated by the prospect of securing more welfare benefits and better accommodation.
The trial is on-going.