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3 June 2019, 16:02 | Updated: 3 June 2019, 16:05
A man has been jailed for a minimum of 20 years for the murder of a 22-month-old girl who he repeatedly punched.
Michael Wild, 30, was given a life sentence at Liverpool Crown Court after he was found guilty of the murder of Ella-Rose Clover following an eight-week trial.
The court heard Wild, of Somerton Avenue in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, had assaulted the toddler on previous occasions when she was left in the care of him and his partner Sharleen Hughes.
On January 21 last year, he was left alone with Ella-Rose while Hughes ran errands and when she returned at about 1.30pm the toddler was collapsed on the sofa.
The youngster was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital but died from abdominal injuries.
In a statement which was read to the court, Ella Rose's mother Pagan said Hughes, her cousin, had become a paid carer for her daughter while she was at work.
The single mother, who has an older daughter Freyah and now has a baby son Harry, said in the months leading up to Ella-Rose's death the toddler was taken to hospital with unexplained bruising.
She said: "Sharleen came with me to some of the hospital and doctors' appointments, Mick even came along and saw me begging for answers from the hospital staff.
"All along he knew what was going on and it sickens me now to think that he sat there watching me and seeing Ella suffer."
Ms Clover said: "Sharleen, my cousin, my confidant and my friend who I trusted implicitly and who Ella loved, and Mick, her boyfriend, who always seemed so nice and kind - they betrayed me and worst of all they betrayed Ella in the worst possible way."
Icah Peart QC, defending, said Wild was of previous good character and had been suffering from anxiety and depression.
He said the defendant had shown remorse after Ella Rose's death, but judge Mr Justice King said he did not accept that.
Sentencing Wild, the judge said: "This killing was the culmination of a course of conduct on your part going back many months."
He said he had no doubt the toddler died after Wild repeatedly punched her, causing internal lacerations to her abdomen.
"Why you did so will perhaps never be known since you have never admitted to this assault," he said.
"The likelihood is you lost your temper with the child when she, in your sole care, required her nappy being changed on more than one occasion over that period."
Wild showed no reaction in the dock while Ms Clover, who was in court with about a dozen family members, walked out after the sentence was passed.
Hughes, 36, was found guilty of causing the death of a child and two counts of perverting the course of justice and is due to be sentenced on Wednesday.