Grace Thorpe: mum of murdered toddler says her memory will ‘always be kept alive’ as killer jailed for life

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Adam Jackson,27, was jailed for a least 16-and-a-half years for the murder of two-year-old Grace Thorpe

The heartbroken mum of a two-year old murdered by her former partner paid tribute to her daughter and vowed that her “memory will always be kept alive.”

Alice Quine spoke of the impact her daughter Grace Thorpe’s death has had on her and her family, and described the two-year-old as always “content and smiling.”

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Adam Jackson was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 16-and-a-half years on Monday after he admitted to the toddler’s murder.

Jackson, 27, was looking after Grace when he caused her horrendous injuries during a “spontaneous eruption of uncontrolled violence” in November 2020 as she sat in her highchair.

Grace, who Teesside Crown Court heard had been encouraged to call him “Daddy”,was hit at least seven times by Jackson and had a fractured skull, broken left leg and serious internal injuries.

She was treated at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, and then flown to a specialist children’s unit in Newcastle, where she died two days later.

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Jackson did not immediately call 999, but when he did he claimed Grace had fallen from her high chair, a story he stuck to until post-mortem evidence proved it was false.

Adam Jackson admitted murdering Grace Thorpe, 2,Adam Jackson admitted murdering Grace Thorpe, 2,
Adam Jackson admitted murdering Grace Thorpe, 2, | PA

‘Grace’s memory will never be lost’

Ms Quine spoke of her and her family’s heartbreak that watching Grace grow up had been taken from them - but said her “memory will never be lost”.

She also thanked ambulance staff and medical professionals involved in Grace’s care, as well as the police for their help and support.

“My life hasn’t been the same since the day I lost Grace and it never will be again. I lost everything in that moment.

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“Grace’s sister is not the same child she was before this happened. She adored Grace and done everything for her, they had the most amazing bond and love for each other.

“My Grace was the happiest little girl who never wanted for anything, she was always content and smiling, her laugh was infectious.

“There were so many things Grace loved to watch, to play with and to do; she always enjoyed playing outside and down the beach, she loved to splash.

“All these things I will never see Grace do again. I will never see her grow up, I will never see any more birthdays, her first day at school, first car, first anything any more.

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“Grace’s memory will never be lost, it will always be kept alive and she will always be spoken about. Every birthday will be celebrated, every anniversary we will remember, every Christmas an empty chair will always be at the table because we know she will be there with us.

“Grace loved and trusted Adam Jackson and he abused that in every way possible. I trusted him with my whole world and he took it away from me in a split second.

“No matter what sentence is given it will never match up to the sentence me and my family will face for the rest of our lives. “

“We will never be able to see or touch Grace again and that’s the most heartbreaking thought there is to bear.”

Grace ThorpeGrace Thorpe
Grace Thorpe | Family handout/Cleveland Police

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Jackson claimed toddler had fallen from high chair

The court heard Jackson claimed Grace had fallen from her high chair, but forensic evidence showed she was in her chair when she was attacked.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said: “The findings of the experts ruled out accidental causation of her injuries and pointed clearly instead to their deliberate infliction.”

The prosecution said Grace was born in June 2018 and her mother, Alice Quine, split up from the little girl’s father and moved in with her own mother.

She began a relationship with Jackson a year before the murder. Family and friends initially liked him, and he moved in with her after lockdown.

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Mr Dry said Jackson would become bad-tempered if he did not have money for cannabis, which he used every day.

Hair samples from Grace showed she had been exposed to cannabis and cocaine, the court heard, and Ms Quine had previously asked him to leave the house before they got back together.

She had gone to work on the day Jackson murdered Grace, Mr Dry said.

The emergency services were to find the toddler injured, cold and wearing only a nappy.

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Jackson claimed she had fallen from her high chair, saying it had a faulty strap.

Tests later found it was safe, and forensic experts found that Grace had breathed out blood on to the tray, showing she was sitting in the chair while she was attacked.

Grace Thorpe.Grace Thorpe.
Grace Thorpe. | PA

‘You inflicted a brutal attack on her for no reason’

Ms Quine read a victim statement to the court, saying the loss of her daughter had a devastating effect on the whole family.

And she asked the defendant, who had his head bowed in the dock, why he had not just handed over care of Grace to someone else that day.

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She said: “Nothing justifies the horrible things you have done to my baby, an innocent two-year-old, who would have woken up happy to see you, and you inflicted a brutal attack on her for no reason.”

Peter Makepeace QC, defending, said Jackson, who has no previous convictions, did not intend to kill Grace, saying it had been a “spontaneous eruption of uncontrolled violence”.

Judge Howard Crowson said Jackson was guilty of a gross breach of trust.

Outside court, temporary Detective Chief Inspector Peter Carr, said: “Instead of looking after and caring for her, he assaulted her, causing her fatal injuries.

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“When professionals questioned how Grace had sustained her injuries, Jackson lied.”

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