Aunt jailed for six years for the manslaughter of her niece

Chuanfang Zhenh at Leicester Crown Court, accused of shaking a baby to death. PICTURE LEICESTER MERCURY
Chuanfang Zhenh at Leicester Crown Court, accused of shaking a baby to death. PICTURE LEICESTER MERCURY

A 31-year-old woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for the manslaughter of her seven-month-old niece, who she was babysitting.

Chuanfang Zheng appeared at Leicester Crown Court this week for sentencing, having been found guilty by a jury last month of violently shaking the crying baby in a flat in Lutterworth.

The incident happened on March 22, 2015, resulting in the death of the girl, Phoebe Guo, three days later.

Zheng had been looking after her own three children and her niece while family members worked nearby at The Great Wall takeaway on Linden Drive, Lutterworth.

The jury heard that Zheng “lost control” and fatally shook her niece.

Experts discovered that the baby suffered seriousbrain damage, most likely to have been caused by being shaken.

In sentencing Zheng, Judge Nicholas Dean said he had been influence by a statement from baby Phoebe’s father, asking the judge to be lenient with Zheng, so she could return to her own children as soon as possible.

Detective Chief Inspector Natalee Wignall, who led the investigation into the death, said: “This has been a long investigation to find out what happened to this little girl.

“Today’s result is testament to the investigation team’s hard work and determination.”

A spokesman for children’s charity the NSPCC said: “Zheng inflicted appalling injuries on the baby niece she had been trusted to look after.

“If a parent or carer is struggling to cope with a baby’s crying, it is their responsibility to seek help. Just a moment’s loss of control can result in tragedy.

“They can speak anonymously to trained counsellors at the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.”