Benjamin O’Shea, 26, and Naomi Johnson, 24, claimed paramedics caused the fractures suffered by their daughter Amina-Faye – but they were found guilty of causing or allowing her to suffer physical harm.
O’Shea has been sentenced to eight years and eight months in jail, while Johnson was handed a jail term of seven years and two months.
In total, the little girl had 41 fractures to her ribs and 24 fractures to her limbs – with doctors concluding the injuries were “highly indicative that Amina had suffered continued physical abuse”, police said.
Johnson and O’Shea, from Southwark in London, were also found guilty of cruelty to another child who is known to the pair.
Their sentencing at Inner London Crown Court comes amid concerns about an increase in child cruelty cases in the UK.
Judge Nigel Peters QC said it was “sadly yet another harrowing case of parents being cruel to their children”.
Johnson and O’Shea – a former army reservist – called 999 on the morning of 26 April 2019 after Amina stopped breathing.
Paramedics arrived within minutes and tried to save her life, but she died at the scene.
The Metropolitan Police said there were no visible signs of injury and Amina was initially thought to have suffered a sudden unexplained death – but X-rays later identified her broken bones.
Some fractures were recent while others had started to heal, suggesting Amina had been repeatedly abused, the force added.
However, no cause of death was established.
Due to the level of Amina’s injuries, a police investigation was launched and Johnson and O’Shea were arrested.
The couple claimed their daughter’s death was the result of a visit to the GP – reportedly blaming her inoculation – and that her bone fractures were caused by the paramedics.
A medical expert concluded the baby’s limb bone fractures were caused on at least seven separate occasions and the rib fractures were the result of at least two incidents, while the spread of the injuries meant they could not have been caused accidentally.
There was also evidence of past bleeding inside Amina’s head, which had healed.
Police found O’Shea made several calls to NHS 111 between 2016 and 2019 referring to his self-diagnosed PTSD and aggression issues.
In one incident, O’Shea called – about three weeks before Amina’s death – to report that she was coughing blood, but he failed to act on a doctor’s advice to take her to hospital.
Detectives also found texts that showed Johnson and O’Shea admitting to slapping and mistreating the other child for whom they were convicted.
They were found guilty on 30 November following a four-week trial at Inner London Crown Court.
More than 27,300 cases of cruelty to children and young people were recorded by police in England and Wales from July 2020 to June 2021 – a 23% increase on the previous year.
There were also 536 cases of deaths or serious harm to a child where abuse or neglect was known or suspected in 2020/21 – a 19% rise on the previous 12 months.