The adoptive parents of a daughter who was thrown into her cot by her father and died 14 years later say that she was “robbed” of living an independent life.

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.

Yesterday, Smith was cleared of the murder of Maisie.

Tracey and Ian Newell, who adopted Maisie when she was 20 months, have now issued a statement on the “unspeakable injuries” that Maisie suffered as a “tiny, vulnerable, innocent baby”.

The parents said: “It has taken over seven-and-a-half-years since her death for her case to be heard in court. She should have had a safe, happy, care free childhood.

“She should have now been becoming independent, finding out who she wanted to be, the world should now be her oyster.

“But instead she was robbed of all those opportunities.

“We gave her our best and she couldn’t have been more loved. We all continue to love and miss her.

“She was adored by us all and we will continue to do our best by ensuring justice prevails. She had no voice of her own, we will be her voice.”

Maisie’s brain injury led to a series of difficulties – including; epilepsy, cerebral palsy, unsafe swallow, visual impairment and profound learning difficulties.

In the statement, the parents said: “There was not a functioning piece of her that was unaffected- she lived with pain, very limited purposeful movement and no verbal communication.

“But despite all the challenges she endured and despite her poor start to life, Maisie remained a strong, vibrant personality who drew people to her with her most incredible smile.”

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.

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.