A mother who strangled her five-year-old daughter to death cried in the dock after being jailed for her manslaughter.
Martina Madarova, 41, admitted killing Alijah Thomas at their family home in Ealing, west London, in September 2021.
Madarova denied murder but admitted manslaughter, which was accepted by the prosecution after medical reports showed she suffered from severe depression during the pandemic.
Judge Richard Marks noted she had previously been an “exemplary mother” when he jailed her for five years at the Old Bailey today.
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.
Madarova, a Slovakian national, had called Mr Thomas on the morning of 14 September last year and told him Alijah had died.
The mother was later found lying on the sofa with her daughter tucked under a blanket as if to go to sleep, Mr Atkinson said.
Madarova went on to tell medics that she felt she had “failed” her daughter and had consumed two bottles of wine.
A post-mortem examination found Alijah died from compression of the neck.
Judge Marks noted the killing involved a “breach of trust” of a “vulnerable” victim when he jailed Madarova.
The defendant’s drinking and the fact that she had not sought medical help were aggravating factors.
But the judge also acknowledged she will have to live with what she did for the rest of her life.
Madarova cried in the dock as she was sentenced.