City worker sobs as she and lover found guilty over death of baby girl

A City worker and her handyman lover have been found guilty over the death of their baby daughter.

Management consultant Clare Sanders, 44, and Tomas Vaitkevicius, 45, were accused of killing four-week-old Eva Sanders in September 2017 by repeatedly shaking her.

Eva suffered 27 rib factures as well as injuries to her head and spine from three separate assaults, jurors heard.

Sanders, who left her £90,000-a-year job before Eva was born, was described as being manipulative and controlling, while Vaitkevicius, who had convictions for violence, admitted he could be aggressive.

But both defendants, who were said to have a “toxic” relationship, denied causing Eva’s injuries or noticing any signs of mistreatment.

Following a retrial at the Old Bailey, Sanders of Streatham Road, Mitcham, south-west London, and Vaitkevicius were cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of their child.

Sanders sobbed loudly in the dock as the jury delivered its guilty verdicts, by a majority of 11 to one, after 27 hours of deliberations.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC remanded the defendants into custody to be sentenced on November 27.

Prosecutor Tom Little QC had told jurors that Eva was “violently shaken” on at least three occasions days apart.

He said: “This was, we say, a brutal series of assaults. A defenceless baby was not able to talk, not able to say what happened, not able to defend herself.”

The couple’s neighbour had raised the alarm in the early hours of September 1 2017 when she woke up to Sanders screaming and ringing the doorbell.

Eva was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, where she died the next day.

On August 27, less than a week earlier, Sanders had made internet searches on her mobile for “shaken baby syndrome NHS”, “shaking babies” and “baby is shaking”, the court heard.

She later told police that Eva’s arms and legs had been shaking but she could not provide an explanation for it.

Mr Little said: “It can be difficult for the mother and it can be difficult for the father.

“But what you do not do when they cry or will not feed properly is to assault them. What you do not do is shake them violently. What you do not do is break their ribs.

“A baby caused such injuries and pain may well keep on crying and will not stop crying.”