Father and step-mother guilty of child cruelty

A father and step-mother found guilty of child cruelty against a two-year-old boy have been jailed.

On 11th July, Gnagne Sangare (step-mother), 27, from Winterbourne Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. Her husband Adama Sangare (father), 36, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.

Both were previously found guilty at Croydon Crown Court of a total of five counts of child cruelty, after they neglected to care for their son Mohammed Diarra, now aged three.

Mohammed Diarra was taken to Mayday Hospital on 23rd March 2010 at approximately 21:00hrs after he was found in bed experiencing breathing difficulties. As he arrived at hospital, staff had to perform CPR as he stopped breathing.

Doctors performed various tests on the boy and discovered that he had severe brain injuries and transferred him to Kings College Hospital. Further tests were performed which found that Mohammed had sub-dural haemorrhages, a laceration to his liver and transected pancreas. The hospital staff considered these injuries to be non-accidental and contacted police.

Further medical investigations also discovered that, in addition, Mohammed had a fracture to his right leg and previously broken ribs.

Police officers attended the hospital on 24th March 2010 and arrested the child’s father, Adama Sangare, on suspicion of child abuse. They also attended the family’s home address and arrested the step-mother Gnagne Sangare and took four other step-siblings into police protection.

Gnagne Sangare denied knowing how the child could have received such extensive injuries and neither parent gave a plausible explanation as to how Mohammed was so severely injured.

Both Gnagne Sangare and Adama Sangare were charged in September 2010 with three counts of neglect in relation to Mohammed’s broken ribs, broken leg, stomach injuries and were later charged with neglect in relation to his brain injuries.

The step-mother Gnagne Sangare was found guilty at Croydon Crown Court on 13th June of all four of the charges.

Adama Sangare was found guilty of one charge involving the broken ribs, and not guilty of neglect relating to the stomach injuries, brain trauma and broken leg.

Detective Sergeant James Willis, from Child Abuse Investigation Team, Wallington, said: “This small child was horribly neglected by these parents and had suffered horrendous injuries. Thankfully they brought him into hospital that night and the medical professionals were able to spot this abuse before it went any further. It is hard to grasp why any parent, even as a step-parent, would want to treat a small vulnerable child so abhorrently.”

Sergeant Willis said the verdict “means that no child can come to harm at the hands of these people.”