Life sentence for man who killed daughter, 5, to make estranged wife suffer

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A Newfoundland man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his five-year-old daughter in what the Crown said was a calculated plan to make his estranged wife suffer.

Justice Donald Burrage told Trent Butt he simply didn't accept that Butt's apology Tuesday for his daughter Quinn's murder was sincere.

``Quite simply, the pain and suffering inflicted by your senseless actions are beyond measure,'' said the provincial Supreme Court judge told him.

Burrage determined Butt won't be eligible for parole for at least 25 years for the first-degree murder, and also sentenced him to three years for the arson of his home, to be served concurrently.

The judge also barred Butt from communicating with Quinn's mother, his estranged wife Andrea Gosse, and her immediate family.

The judge heard emotional victim impact statements from Gosse and Quinn's aunt, grandmother and best friend, read aloud by the 10-year-old boy's mother.

Gosse spoke through sobs, addressing Butt as she presented a poster board with pictures of Quinn playing with her friend, with a photo of the young girl's small purple urn in the centre.

Gosse talked about the pain of no longer being a mother and being unable to watch her happy child grow up after being killed at the hands of her father.

``Does her voice haunt him, ringing in his ears with all the funny things she used to say?'' Gosse asked the court through her tears.

``The reason she is not here with us today is unbelievably petty. She is gone from this earth because of one man's unreasonable jealousy and need for control.''

Butt also spoke to the court and apologized to Gosse, saying he loved Quinn and that he felt unheard throughout his trial.

The emotionally charged case had captured the province's attention.

The Crown had argued that 40-year-old Butt killed Quinn on April 24, 2016, to inflict suffering on Gosse.

Butt testified at trial that he did not remember killing Quinn, saying he found himself over her body and concluded he must have suffocated her.

Butt had left a suicide note saying he had killed Quinn and himself to keep her apart from her mother, but he survived the fire that tore through his Carbonear, N.L., home.

The girl's body was found in the master bedroom along with her father by emergency crews.

© 2019 The Canadian Press