Sask. mother who killed newborn daughter sentenced to 6 years
Warning: This story contains details some readers may find disturbing.
A judge handed down a six-year sentence for a Kindersley woman who killed her newborn daughter.
Teenie Rose Steer threw her one-month-old baby against a living room wall, court heard.
Steer told investigators the killing happened in a moment of frustration and anger when the baby wouldn’t settle.
The then 28-year-old mother told police she heard a crack when the infant hit the wall and realized the child had no signs of life, court heard. She then put her daughter back in the bassinet.
The infant was pronounced dead in hospital on Sept. 27, 2018.
An autopsy found the newborn had a nine centimetre skull fracture and died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Steer was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
Justice Gerald Allbright delivered his 33-page sentencing decision on Friday at Saskatoon’s Queen’s Bench.
“[The baby’s] life was ended at the hands of the same person who gave her life,” Allbright said.
The Crown pushed for an eight-year sentence, while the defence argued for a four to four-and-a-half year sentence.
Allbright considered Steer’s delay to tell the truth as an aggravating factor.
Steer originally gave police differing explanations of how her child died.
She first told RCMP she found her daughter unresponsive in the bassinet.
In a second interview with investigators, Steer changed her story about where the baby was sleeping the night she died.
At one point, she attempted to advance a theory that her other three-year-old daughter was jealous of her newborn sister and mistreated her.
Court heard it took 17 months for Steer to admit to police what happened.
“I think he appreciated in the end that her inability to be forthcoming with that, at the first instance, was something that to consider as aggravating,” said Crown prosecutor Janyne Laing.
Laing argued Steer’s failed obligation to care for her vulnerable child was also an aggravating factor, which the judge considered in his decision.
“This very young child had a right to live a life, unmarked by violence and she lost that night. That must never be forgotten,” Allbright said.
The defence argued Steer faced poverty and a troubled childhood with abuse in the home.
At the time of the killing, the defence said Steer hadn’t slept in days and was in a state of extreme exhaustion.
Steer appeared in court virtually from Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford where court heard Steer is taking, and excelling, in different courses.
Allbright said he believes Steer has remorse for the killing and is confident in her rehabilitation.