Ellie May death trial: Jury due out today to decide verdicts

Lauren Coyle is on trial over the death of her baby daughter
Lauren Coyle is on trial over the death of her baby daughter
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The jury trying a young mum and two men accused of unlawfully killing her toddler daughter is due to retire today.

During a four week trial at Liverpool Crown Court they have heard how 19-month-old Ellie-May Minshull-Coyle tragically died after being forcibly restrained face down by ligatures in her bed, which had been turned into a “monstrous cage.”

Her ankles had also allegedly been bound together and she would have suffered “immense suffering, distress and upset”, prosecuting QC Christopher Tehrani has claimed.

Being restrained in face down position would have compromised her breathing and a duvet placed over her is thought to have caused hyperthermia. She was found unresponsive in her purple toddler bed, to which was lashed the slats from her cot and over which sheets and towels were draped.

In the dock are her 19-year-old mother, Lauren Coyle, of Collins Road, Bamber Bridge, her former boyfriend Reece Hitchcott, 20, of The Fieldings, Fulwood, Preston and his friend and their lodger, Connor Kirby, also 20, of Octavia Court, Huyton, Liverpool,

The trio deny manslaughter on March 23 last year and also each deny a count of causing or allowing the death of the child, one count of child cruelty by “caging” the child in her bed, and another count of child cruelty by restraining her in the bed.

Hitchcott, who moved into the flat in Ward Street, Lostock Hall, on the same day as Ellie-May’s dad moved out, less than three months before Ellie-May’s death, blames Coyle for her death and she blames him.

Hitchcott, who was spending £150 a week on cannabis, has admitted constructing the cage around two sides of her bed, helped by Kirby, to prevent her from falling out but denied tying her to the mattress. The prosecution say that a pink and a blue blanket had been used around her chest and legs and a piece of black material bound around her ankles.