A father who threw his baby daughter into her cot more than 20 years ago has been cleared of her murder.

Dean Smith, 46, from Bushey, inflicted horrific head injuries to four-week-old Maisie Newell on August 26, 2000, from which she never recovered.

Maisie, who was adopted by another family, was left disabled and died on June 28, 2014 just before her 14th birthday.

Smith had pleaded guilty to her manslaughter, but denied murder, saying he never intended to hurt her.

A jury deliberated for 12 hours to acquit Smith of the murder charge following a retrial at the Old Bailey.

The defendant appeared emotional in the dock as the verdict was delivered after jurors had been given a majority direction on Monday.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC said it had been a “difficult case” as he adjourned sentencing until November 12.

Watford Observer: The trial went ahead at the Old Bailey The trial went ahead at the Old Bailey

The court heard how Smith had initially been jailed for three years in 2001 after admitting grievous bodily harm without intent.

Following Maisie’s death, Smith was arrested and bailed and in 2016 he was informed that police were taking no further action.

But in February 2019, five years after his arrest, he was charged with Maisie’s murder.

Jurors were told that at the time of the original offence, Smith had an anti-social personality disorder associated with impulsivity, poor emotional regulation and increased hostility towards others.

Previously in evidence, Smith described himself as a “lowlife scumbag”.

He had admitted tossing his daughter 6ft into her cot at the family home in Edgware after she did not stop crying.

He told jurors he had asked his partner not to go out that day because he was feeling “anxious” and “on edge”.

He told her: “I don’t feel myself.

“Don’t leave me with a f***ing screaming baby,” the court heard.

After fatally injuring Maisie, stonemason Smith lit a cigarette, drank a beer and played on his PlayStation until his partner returned home and notice she was “pale”.

Smith said she became “hysterical” and told him not to come clean about what happened for fear of losing both their children to care.

On learning of Maisie’s death nearly 14 years later, the defendant said he “broke down”.

“I think I’m a lowlife scumbag.

“I cannot believe I did it.

“I’m disgusted in myself.

“I wish it was me, not her,” he said.

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