'Mummy, you're killing me': Tragic final words of girl, 5, strangled to death

29 January 2022, 08:43 | Updated: 29 January 2022, 08:56

Martina Madarova, 41, admitted killing Alijah Thomas at the family home in Ealing.
Martina Madarova, 41, admitted killing Alijah Thomas at the family home in Ealing. Picture: Met Police

By Sophie Barnett

A mother who strangled her five-year-old daughter to death after becoming severely depressed during the pandemic has been jailed for five years.

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Martina Madarova, 41, admitted killing Alijah Thomas at the family home in Ealing, west London, last September.

On the morning of Tuesday September 14, Madarova had called the girl's father David Thomas and told him Alijah had died, the court heard.

She was found lying on the sofa with her daughter tucked under a blanket as if to go to sleep, prosecutors said.

Madarova went on to tell medics that she felt she had "failed" her daughter and had consumed two bottles of wine.

Alijah had begged her "Mummy, don’t kill me", she told paramedics, and she said she responded "I don’t want to kill you, I just want to help you, no baby you’re safe".

She said Alijah had replied "No mummy, you’re killing me".

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A post-mortem examination found Alijah died from compression of the neck.

On Friday, Madarova, a Slovakian national, appeared for sentencing before Judge Richard Marks at the Old Bailey.

She had denied murder but admitted manslaughter, which was accepted by the prosecution in light of medical reports.

In a victim impact statement, Alijah's father, David Thomas, said: "I am blessed that I have other children but the fact that I have lost one is devastating.

"Martina is not a bad person, she was the best mum.

"I still believe that she was not well and would not have intentionally done anything to harm our daughter."

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said the defendant had suffered a "significant deterioration" in her mental state during the Covid pandemic and was severely depressed at the time of the killing.

Jailing Madarova, Judge Marks noted the killing involved a "breach of trust" of a "vulnerable" victim.

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The defendant's drinking and the fact that she had not sought medical help were aggravating factors.

But the judge also acknowledged that she had previously been an "exemplary mother" and will have to live with what she did for the rest of her life.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Shirley of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “This has been a truly harrowing investigation that involved the loss of an innocent young life at the hands of a loved one.

“I sincerely hope that Alijah’s family are comforted by the knowledge that Martina Madarova will now receive the help that she needs. Our thoughts are with them today.”

Madarova wept in the dock as she was sent down.