Evil gran told to ‘burn in hell’ as she is jailed for child cruelty

Shanay Walker died from a head injury - pictured with her birth mother Leanne

Britain’s most evil gran who assaulted her granddaughter in the years before she died was told to “burn in hell” as she was jailed for a catalogue of cruelty to children.

Juanila Smikle brutally beat seven-year-old Shanay Walker and denied her from having food and water in the years leading up to her death.

The 55-year-old was caring for her granddaughter and manipulated social workers into believing that the girl’s injuries were accidental after teachers raised the alarm.

A court heard Shanay suffered more than 50 injuries and died from a brain haemorrhage after suffering a “sustained, vicious and brutal beating” in July 2014.

Shanay Walker
Shanay Walker

Shanay was living with Smikle and her aunt Kay-Ann Morris in Bestwood, Notts., after her biological mother Leanne Walker, 21, was forced to give her up.

The pair were previously convicted of “about the worst case of child cruelty” after the “most wicked betrayal of trust”.

Smikle was jailed for four years in June this year but her conviction was overturned on appeal.

She was hauled back before a court to face a further five counts of child cruelty – including to her granddaughter – after Shanay‘s death prompted an inquiry.

And last month she was found guilty of cruelty to persons under the age of 16 following a retrial at Nottingham Crown Court.

On Tuesday (4/10) Smikle, of Top Valley, Notts, stared blankly ahead and showed no emotion in the dock as she was jailed for seven years at the same court.

Sentencing, Gregory Dickinson QC said: “You contributed to the suffering that little girl had during her short life. You beat her severely.”

Smikle was told “to burn in hell” by a member of the public as she calmly left the dock, brushing her shoulder and muttering something under her breath.

Prosecutor Richard Pratt QC told the court Smikle had not been directly responsible for Shanay‘s death.

However, he added that inquiries showed the grandmother “wilfully assaulted and ill-treated” the child for two years before her death.

Shanay's grandmother, Juanila Smikle, 54
Shanay’s grandmother, Juanila Smikle, 54

The court also heard how another victim – now an adult – was subjected to beatings and used as a slave when she was aged 12 to 16 between 2003 and 2006.

Smikle would “hit her, kick her… use anything she could lay her hands on” to beat her victim, who knew the assault would be severe if she was gagged to quieten the screams.

Jurors also heard the four other children, including Shanay, were made to punish each other, eventually learning to pretend to inflict pain to keep Smikle happy.

Shanay had been removed from the care of her mother, who had been suffering from anxiety and depression, at the age of five.

Shanay Walker's aunt Kay-Ann Morris
Shanay Walker’s aunt Kay-Ann Morris

Her father, Vinroy Campbell, was in prison, so his sister Morris volunteered to take the little girl in.

But the child was subjected to months of violent punishment by her “strict” churchgoing aunt

Last year tragic CCTV footage was released showing the girl in her pyjamas begging a shopkeeper for something to drink just hours before she was found dead.

The footage shows Shanay running barefoot into a corner shop the night before her frail bruised body was discovered.

Morris and Smikle were sentenced to eight years and four years in jail, respectively, in June 2015 but Smikle’s conviction was reversed by the Court of Appeal.

The harrowing footage of seven-year-old Shanay Walker desperately looking for a drink hours before she died
The harrowing footage of seven-year-old Shanay Walker desperately looking for a drink hours before she died

At her retrial last month, the court heard Smikle had made Shanay face a wall and never let her have any fun.

The little girl would try to steal water, apples and food and would be told off for it.

Smikle had slapped her in a bedroom with her hand on her back or shoulder two or three times in one go and Shanay would cry when this happened to her.

Smikle denied the charges but refused to give evidence at her retrial.

Shanay Walker died from a head injury - pictured with her birth mother Leanne
Shanay Walker died from a head injury – pictured with her birth mother Leanne

Stephen Moses QC, defending, said Smikle suffered appallingly as a youngster in her upbringing in her native Jamacia.

He added: “She has lost all of her family, her worldly belongings have been lost, her home has been lost, her children have depleted her entire life savings leaving her penniless.”

After the case, the child’s mother Leanne Walker said widowed Smikle had shown “no remorse”.

Speaking outside court, she added: “To me it is not justice for Shanay, no matter what prison sentence she serves, it is not going to bring her back.”

An NSPCC spokesperson added: “Now that Smikle has been held to account for her reprehensible behaviour, the events leading up to the tragic death of Shanay Walker must be examined.

“‘Lessons must be learned’ is a familiar epitaph in these desperately sad situations, but this cannot be an empty sentiment.

“A serious case review will explore whether opportunities to better protect Shanay were missed and the findings must be heeded, then acted upon to make tangible advances in child protection.”


  1. How come man who drowned 3 year old got 100 year sentence (quite rightly)!! And that thing who beat her own granddaughter to death got only 7 years BLACK LIVES MATTER
    If it had the miserable childhood referred to then that should have made it even more determined to give her own family the best life she could.


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