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Grandmother found guilty of cruelty to children

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A woman granted a retrial after appealing against her conviction for cruelty to children in her care has been found guilty.

Juanila Smikle, 55, was convicted last year of cruelty towards seven-year-old Shanay Walker, who was found dead at her home in Bestwood in July 2014, and also to three other children.

She was originally sentenced to four years in prison.

Her daughter, 24-year-old Kay-Ann Morris, was also convicted of cruelty at that trial, and sentenced to eight years in prison.

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Having appealed against her conviction, Smikle was ordered to face a retrial, which began at Nottingham Crown Court earlier this month.

During the original trial, the court heard evidence that another child had also suffered cruelty from Smikle.

Consequently, in addition to the four original cruelty charges, she was charged with a fifth count which had not been included in the 2015 trial indictment.

Each count alleged that Smikle, formerly of Easegill Court, had subjected her victims to assault or ill-treatment which was likely to cause them harm, injury or ill-health.

Following a number of days of deliberation, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts on Friday (23 September).

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Smikle will be sentenced on Tuesday 4 October.

Detective Superintendent Rob Griffin, who led the original investigation into the death of Shanay Walker, said: “Clearly, this has been a distressing few months for the families of her victims, particularly the parents of Shanay Walker, with the uncertainty and upset that a retrial can generate, having already had to endure the detail of the original trial.

“It is clear that Smikle gave no regard to the physical and emotional abuse she had heaped upon her victims and it is reassuring that a jury has again found the evidence against her to be compelling.

“There is no comfort to be gained from this outcome, other than the knowledge that she will continue to serve a prison sentence.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the families of her young victims.”

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