Clara Yanyi-Ampah mugshot sandwiched by screenshots from CCTV footage
Clara Yanyi-Ampah mugshot sandwiched by screenshots from CCTV footage

A 56-year-old professional nurse, Clara Yanyi-Ampah, who worked as a caregiver at Happy Bloomers School in Agbogba has been jailed for five years over the death of an 11-month-old baby.

This was after the caregiver, pleaded guilty to manslaughter after she entered into plea bargaining negotiations with the office of the Attorney-General.

Per the agreement, the offence of manslaughter is maintained and both parties agreed and recommended to the Court a sentence of five (5) years in hard labour.

On the basis of Section 162 (h) of the Plea-Bargaining Act 1079, the Court prior to sentencing sought clarity from the accused now convicted.

Both the Prosecution represented by Mercy Arthur, a Senior State Attorney, and Richard Asare Baffour all confirmed their agreement to the court.

The accused who had earlier pleaded not guilty, following the agreement changed her plea.

Her plea was subsequently retaken after the court presided over by Justice Marie-Louise Simmons got clarity from the accused on the agreement.

By Court

Justice Marie-Louise Simmons after listening to the parties said “On the basis of the plea of guilty of the offence of manslaughter, the accused is convicted on her own plea and sentenced to five (5) years imprisonment.

In sentencing, “the Court has considered the eight months the accused spent in custody upon her arrest in May 2021 till she was granted bail.

“I have also considered the benefit of the plea deal which has shortened the trial and reduced the burden on both the Prosecution and the Court.”

The court said the accused (now convict) is also not known to the law and seems to have shown remorse.

However, the Court said, “her reckless act of neglect of the baby and non-chantant attitude after feeding her until another teacher found the baby unresponsive was indeed a reckless disregard for human life, hence the sentence meted out.”

Brief facts

Per the brief facts of the case, the complainants, Randy and Patricia Ackah-Mensah, a married couple, are the parents of Allegra Camille Yaba Ackah-Mensah, an 11-month-old baby girl who was attending Happy Bloomers School at North Legon in Accra.

It stated that she (deceased) was enrolled at the school on 6th April 2021.

The accused person, Clara Yanyi-Ampah, a 56-year-old alleged professional nurse, worked as a caregiver at Happy Bloomers School.

The Prosecution stated that, the accused person had the responsibility of taking care of baby Allegra and two other children at the school.

“On May 18, 2021, baby Allegra who had turned 11 months old that morning, went to school in good health.

“At about 2:50 pm Madam Gladys Osei, a teacher at the school passed through the changing room and tried playing with Allegra whilst the accused was changing her clothes, but she found her to be unresponsive,” the Prosecution stated.

It said she asked the accused person who was attending to Allegra if the baby was asleep, and she responded in the negative.

It said, Gladys quickly informed the administrator of the school who rushed Allegra to the North Legon Hospital.

The Prosecution said, that at about 3:07 pm, Randy (father) was called by the school administrator that his daughter had been taken ill and had been rushed to the North Legon Hospital for medical attention, so he called his wife and they went to the hospital.

“The medical report indicated that, Allegra was unresponsive with no heartbeat or pulse and all efforts to resuscitate her proved futile, so she was pronounced clinically dead.

“Prior to changing Allegra’s clothes, the accused person had fed her,” it said.

“A CCTV footage obtained from the school after Allegra’s death showed that the accused person pulled the hands of Allegra to her back and poured food down her throat with a cup.

“According to the school’s policy on feeding, toddlers Allegra’s age are fed with spoons.

“The school indicated that the cup the accused used in feeding baby Allegra belonged to the accused.”

Post mortem

“The post-mortem report indicated that Allegra’s trachea and bronchi and left lungs were filled with food particles. The pathologist concluded that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to aspiration of food following forced feeding.

The accused person was charged with manslaughter contrary to section 50 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960, Act 29 and arraigned before the High Court, Criminal Division, Accra, for trial.

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