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Mother of 3 year old found guilty of cruelty

Lia Green Photo: Lancashire Police

A mother has been found guilty of child cruelty to her daughter who died at the hands of her boyfriend.

Richard Green, 23, had already admitted the manslaughter of his three-year-old daughter, Lia Green, part way through the trial of both parents.

Today the girl's mother, Natalie Critchley, 21, was found guilty by the jury of child cruelty.

Both will be sentenced on May 24.

Lia was covered in bruises when her lifeless body was taken to hospital on August 30 last year from the family home in Norris Street, Preston.

She was later pronounced dead and a post-mortem found part of her bowel had been severed from the force of a blow inflicted on the youngster.

Her cause of death was given as a blunt force abdominal trauma injury, a pathologist concluded.

The trial at Preston Crown Court heard Critchley had began to see another man, the parent of a child where she worked as a nursery nurse.

She lied to Green, claiming to be at pole-dancing lessons, to carry on the affair, but he discovered what was going on in the weeks before Lia was killed, the court heard.

The prosecution told the jury Green "lost control" and inflicted the injury - and Critchley failed to get medical help in time - otherwise the girl may have survived.

Outside court Detective Superintendent Andy Murphy, from Lancashire Police, said:

Cases like this are incredibly difficult to investigate as the death of any child, especially in circumstances like this, is so tragic.

"From the very early stages the evidence was pointing towards Richard Green being responsible.

"The post-mortem examination revealed that Lia died as a result of receiving a significant blunt trauma to her abdomen that had to have been caused by a significant violent act, and not from her falling from a swing, as was suggested to us when we interviewed him.

"Natalie Critchley failed in her duty as a mother; to care for and save from harm her little girl.

"Lia had her whole life ahead of her and the people who should have been protecting her have let her down in an unthinkable and unimaginable way.

"Only Richard Green knows why he did what he did that night to his daughter and he will have to live with that for the rest of his life.

"Today, Lia is in my thoughts and the thoughts of my team."

– Detective Superintendent Andy Murphy, Lancashire Police

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