Mother jailed for killing five-year-old daughter

Alijah Thomas died from compression of the neck

A woman who killed her five-year-old daughter after becoming depressed during the pandemic has been jailed for five years.

Alijah Thomas died at her family home in Ealing, west London, in September last year.

Martina Madarova, 41, entered a plea of manslaughter by diminished responsibility, which was accepted by the prosecution.

On Friday, Judge Richard Marks, sitting at the Old Bailey, said the killing involved a "breach of trust" of a "vulnerable" victim.

The defendant’s drinking and the fact that she had not sought medical help were aggravating factors.

He also acknowledged that she had previously been an "exemplary mother" and will have to live with what she did for the rest of her life.

Martina Madarova

Alijah’s father, David Thomas, described his daughter's death as "devastating" in a victim impact statement.

"No words could ever explain or put into context how I have felt since Alijah was taken from us," he said.

"There is no escaping this situation, every day I have to live through the loss of my daughter and the impact it has had on us. This has changed our lives.

"I am not only suffering the loss of my daughter but I have also lost my partner in these tragic circumstances.

"Martina was more than just a partner, she was my best friend and my soul mate. This is a case of mental health. There is no hatred towards Martina."

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said Madarova had suffered a "significant deterioration" in her mental state during the pandemic and was severely depressed at the time of the killing.

On the morning of Tuesday September 14 last year, Madarova called Thomas and told him Alijah had died.

She was found lying on the sofa with her daughter under a blanket as if to go to sleep, Atkinson said.

Madarova told medics that she felt she had "failed" her daughter and had drunk two bottles of wine.

A post-mortem found Alijah died from compression of the neck.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Shirley of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: "This has been a truly harrowing investigation that involved the loss of an innocent young life at the hands of a loved one.

"I sincerely hope that Alijah’s family are comforted by the knowledge that Martina Madarova will now receive the help that she needs. Our thoughts are with them today."