A nurse has been jailed for three years at the Old Bailey for force-feeding her baby daughter until she died – in Britain’s first case of it kind.
Gloria Dwomoh, 31, was convicted last month of causing or allowing the death of 10-month-old Diamond.
She was said to be obsessed with the child’s weight and poured liquidised food into the infant’s mouth when she was weaning her.
Diamond died in March last year, after being taken to a hospital near her home in Waltham Forest, east London.
A post-mortem found she died from pneumonia caused by food, including meat and cereals, in her lungs.
Dwomoh’s defence lawyer presented the court with a 1,000-signature petition from family and friends pleading for mercy, and asked the judge to impose a suspended sentence.
But the Common Serjeant of London Judge Brian Barker described the actions of Dwomoh – who is originally from Ghana – as a “misguided obsession”.
“The forcing of food into your daughter against her natural instincts would have caused her daily distress,” he said.
“At best it was a misguided obsession – but a determined obsession – which must have caused daily prolonged distress to your daughter.
“It cannot be described as an act of kindness. It took away her life and that is something you must live with.”
He said the practice of feeding by pouring food from a cup or jug into a child’s throat was culturally acceptable in some parts of the world.
“In this country the feeding of a child in this way, against its will, is wrong and dangerous,” he added.
Prosecutors told the Old Bailey the baby had been forced to feed from a jug after the spout was put in her mouth.
Dwomoh wept in court as she denied doing anything to harm her child. She said she and her siblings had been fed in the same way by their mother in Ghana.
But Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, said: “The spout was placed into the mouth of the child to prevent her closing it when she did not want any more, to prevent her having any choice.
“The mother… is a nurse and that involves a degree of extra insight.”
A serious case review is taking place into the baby’s death which followed previous social services and health care concerns about the feeding method being used by the mother.
A 37-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was found not guilty of the same charge.