Suspended sentence for drink-drive dad found guilty of causing baby daughter’s death

A 45-year-old truck driver father has found guilty of the negligent homicide of his two-year-old daughter following a ‘brutal accident’ which saw her ‘spat out of her baby-seat’, ending up crushed under the family car.

Judges in Évora heard how little Francisca Costa was travelling in a seat that was technically out of date safety-wise, and not restrained by the car’s seat belt.

When the Renault Clio skidded out of control on a dangerous bend in the early hours of the morning, there was nothing to save her.

She was literally ‘spat from the seat’, leaving marks of the seat’s restraints on her shoulders.

As the car rolled over and over, somehow the little girl’s body ended up underneath it.

Say reports today, it was a female firefighter, attending the scene, who discovered the body with the use of a torch

João Costa was driving ‘under the influence of alcohol’ and had been at a ‘baile’ (traditional dance) with his partner and elder daughter.

The evening had seen the parents ‘have a disagreement’, and it was in this context that they were driving home.

The tragedy however gets worse. It was not João Costa who put his child into the car without proper safety restraints, it was his wife – who hadn’t apparently been drinking.

Suffice it to say, the sentence delivered by judges confirmed an early court verdict of three years jail, suspended.

João Costa has also been banned from driving for 15 months, and ordered to pay a fine of 1,315 euros.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã says Costa’s partner had been seeking compensation of 300,000 euros, from Costa, his insurance and the Automobile Guarantee Fund, but the bid failed as she had been the one responsible for paying the car’s insurance, and it had lapsed through non-payment a month before.

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