Story By: Kathryn Quinn, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The trial of the man accused of beating his six-year-old stepdaughter to death leaving her with broken bones and a brain bleed starts today.
David H. who has previous GBH convictions faces murder charges after allegedly beating Leonie, 6, so badly that she died.
The postmortem showed numerous broken bones and bleeding on her brain.
On the day of Leonie’s death, her mother Janine went shopping and left Leonie with her stepfather in the apartment.
When she returned, the child was ‘disorientated’ according to the mother and her partner claimed that Leonie had fallen down the stairs. Mother Janine wanted to call for help but David H. hid her phone and after dinner together Leonie went to bed.
At 19.26 that evening David H. called for an ambulance but Leonie was already dead.
Her body was covered in injuries including numerous broken bones all over her body as well as bleeds on her brain.
Two days after Leonie’s death David H. was questioned by police and he was told that Leonie’s injuries suggested that he was to blame for her death. David H. then fled and went into hiding. Only a few days later did he present himself to police again.
However David H. claims that Leonie died as a result of falling down the stairs at her home in Torgelow, a municipality in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.
The Public Prosecutor in Neubrandenburg, a city in the south-east of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where the trial is due to take place today (Tues), accuses David H. of abusing and beating Leonie causing her to die of her injuries.
Leonie’s mother Janine, 25, moved to live with David H. in Torgelow together with Leonie and her 3-year-old brother Noah just over a year ago. David H. and Janine have since had another child together.
It is alleged that David H. started to abuse his stepchildren shortly after they moved in together. The Public Prosecutor has documented at least seven such occurrences in the law suit against David H.
The court claims that the day of her death was not the first time Leonie was injured at the hands of her stepfather.
Last November, she was allegedly pushed so badly to the floor in her bedroom that she as left with injuries. A few days later, her then 2-year-old brother was allegedly thrown against the wall leaving him with a bleeding head injury. Just before Christmas, David H. is accused of hitting Leonie’s head against the wall and kicking her in the stomach. Weeks later Leonie was allegedly punched in the face and pleaded with David H. to stop, according to her mother Janine.
It is not known why the mother did not intervene. Police are also investigating the mother’s role and her failure to help the children.
The trial is set to last 13 days and 40 witnesses have been called. If found guilty he faces a life sentence.
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