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The 53-year-old grandmother was spared from prison after the granddaughter drowned in the bathroom


A grandmother was spared jail after her 11-month-old granddaughter drowned in a bathroom in the next room while she was putting on her bathrobe.

Shirley Grenfell, 53, of Illogan Highway in Cornwall, left the bathroom for two minutes to get dressed in her room on Boxing Day 2017 when baby Chanelle Grenfell was in the bathtub in the next room.

When she returned, she found Chanelle "under the water on her back" and completely immersed in four inches or just over five inches of water.

During the two minutes she was from her granddaughter, Grenfell admitted to having changed the channel on her bedroom TV, but insisted that she did not "watch" the TV soap Emmerdale.

Shirley Grenfell left the bathroom for two minutes to get dressed on Boxing Day morning 2017 when baby Chanelle Grenfell (pictured) was in the bathtub next to grandmother's bedroom

She told a jury at Truro Crown Court, "I didn't see it – I looked at it."

She said the TV was on in the background when she put on a wrap of hair and her bathrobe and then sat on the bed because I don't know how long it was.

The twelve-year-old grandmother said she felt safe going into her bedroom as the bathroom was so close that she could hear Chanelle.

Grenfell had denied manslaughter through gross negligence and a second alternative cruelty charge against a child – but a jury was unable to pass judgments and was dismissed.

Grenfell returned to court today to admit child cruelty and she was given a suspended sentence.

Shirley Grenfell, 53, (right) in front of Truro Crown Court today. Ms. Justice May said Grenfell was a "loving and accommodating grandmother".

Shirley Grenfell, 53, (right) in front of Truro Crown Court today. Ms. Justice May said Grenfell was a "loving and accommodating grandmother".

The judge, Ms. Justice May, said: “You are a loving and accommodating grandmother. Chanelle lost her life in what happened that day. & # 39;

She said Chanelle was a "happy and smiling" child, as seen in clips and photos, but her short life meant her hopes and promises would never be realized.

Ms. Justice May said Grenfell was a "kind and caring grandmother who was generous with her time" and that Chanelle's death was the result of "tragic inattention".

She said the impact on Grenfell was "severe and will remain with you".

Grenfell was sentenced to one year imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. Judge May ordered that a not guilty confession of manslaughter be filed.

Chanelle's mother, Kirtsy Mankee, who was not on trial for illness, said in a statement that her daughter was "a very beloved character."

She said, “She is really missed every day. I hope she knows how much her mom loves her. & # 39;

She hoped that people would "think before taking their children in a bath alone".

Grenfell has been sentenced to one year imprisonment and 18 months suspended sentence for child cruelty at Truro Crown Court (pictured) in Cornwall

Grenfell has been sentenced to one year imprisonment and a suspended sentence of 18 months for child abuse at Truro Crown Court (pictured) in Cornwall

Simon Laws, QC, said Grenfell's life was "very dedicated to her family, raised her children, and being a caring and loving grandmother to large numbers of grandchildren".

He said the tragedy is "the last thing she thinks about at night and the first thing she thinks about in the morning," adding, "She still does today. The impact on her has been severe. This terrible tragedy is with her all the time. Christmas will just never be a festival. & # 39;

At her previous trial, she said she was in her bedroom to get dressed after bathing herself.

She drained some bath water and put Chanelle on the tap end of the bath and the water was "up to her stomach" as she played with plastic toys.

When she called the police in 999, she said, "I didn't know she was underwater."

She said she left the bathroom for two to three minutes and found Chanelle "under the water on her back" and completely submerged.

A pathologist said Chanelle drowned and added that once she slipped from an upright position, she would not be able to straighten up.

Grenfell said she was unaware "if she fell she would not be able to get up".

On the day of the tragedy, PC Jason Dower was sent home and said the bathroom contained four inches, or just over five inches, of water.

Grenfell said to the officer, “I took a bath and got out. I let out some water and put in Chanelle. I went into the bedroom to put on my bathrobe. I went to the bathroom and Chanelle was under water. & # 39;

PC Dower said Grenfell was in "utter shock and crying" adding, "She struggled with grief because she felt responsible."

Chanelle was flown to a Truro hospital but was taken to a Bristol Children's Hospital where she died the next day.

The prosecutor, Miss Jo Martin QC, said the NHS advice is that babies and young children should be placed in a bath with no more than two inches of water and that they "should not be left alone for a moment."

She said babies could tip over and not straighten up, and that could lead to drowning.

Miss Martin said Grenfell left Chanelle unattended and unattended for at least two minutes.

She said Grenfell obviously did not want to harm Chanelle, but she "had a duty to take care of her that day".

Miss Martin said, “What happened on Boxing Day was clearly a tragedy and people are clearly making mistakes.

“If you leave an 11 month old baby unattended in a bath, there is a serious and obvious risk of death. She was negligent, not just negligent, but grossly negligent. & # 39;

Simon Laws, QC, said, “Unfortunately, tragedies and accidents happen. Very often it is someone's fault. What happened here was the last thing anyone would have wished for, a very young child who tragically and unintentionally lost his life. & # 39;

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