News article

Man jailed for killing baby daughter in 1976, Plymouth

0323.21 Op Handbrake Terence McArthur PIC.jpg

Terence McArthur, 67, sentenced to nine years in prison at Exeter Crown Court

A man has been jailed for killing his two-week-old baby daughter in Plymouth 45 years ago.

Terence McArthur, aged 67, of Walker Street, Rochdale, admitted the manslaughter of Tracy McArthur on 1 June 1976.

He was today [Friday 30 July] sentenced to nine years in prison by a judge at Exeter Crown Court.

The conviction is the result of a complex four-year enquiry led by Devon and Cornwall Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team.

It was launched following a referral by Greater Manchester Police in June 2017 when McArthur confessed his crime while he was being treated in hospital.

He told a nurse he had shaken and killed 14-day-old Tracy when she would not stop screaming, and that it had been considered a cot death at the time.  

McArthur, pictured, was arrested at his home address on Tuesday 11 August 2020.

Detective Inspector Stephanie Blundell, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, welcomed today’s sentence and said: “This has been a protracted and complex enquiry, undertaken over four years, regarding the unlawful killing of a two-week-old baby in 1976 by her father.

“The detailed and meticulous investigation gathered witness and medical evidence; the strength of which left McArthur with no choice but to plead guilty on 22 June, just two weeks prior to the scheduled trial. 

“I would like to pass my thanks to the witnesses in this case - who were ready and prepared to attend court to give their evidence - for their support and assistance to the investigation.

“In particular, I pass my thanks to Tracy’s family, who have demonstrated great patience, courage and understanding throughout the enquiry. I hope that today’s sentence helps to bring some closure to the tragic loss they have suffered.”

Linda Wilks, Tracy’s mother, said: “I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me through all of this, and Devon and Cornwall police who have worked hard to get justice for Tracy after 45 years.”


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