There were sobs and tears in a Calgary courtroom Thursday at the sentencing hearing for a man convicted in the beating death of his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter.
Ivy Wick was injured on Sept. 27, 2017, and she died in hospital of head and brain injuries eight days later.
An autopsy revealed she suffered blunt force trauma.
Justin Bennett, 30, was charged a year later after he confessed to undercover police officers that he had snapped when the child interrupted his video game. He smashed her head, threw her against a wall then tripped her.
He was convicted of second-degree murder in March 2021, and sentencing was delayed as he fired several lawyers and failed in a bid to have a mistrial declared.
“You took your anger out on an innocent child who didn’t understand why she was being punished,” said Ivy’s mother, Helen Wordsworth, in a victim impact statement.
“I will never forgive you for taking my child out of my arms. I hope her face haunts you until the day you die. You took my light away and left me in a dark nightmare.”
Justin Bennett found guilty of 2nd-degree murder in 2017 death of Calgary toddler
The girl’s aunt said Bennett stole the life of a precious little girl from her entire family.
“I have no forgiveness for you. I am sick every time I see you, remembering what you did to my niece,” said Heather Wordsworth.
“You are exactly where you belong. No amount of excuses like video games or marijuana can cover your actions.”
Don and Ellie Wordsworth said their granddaughter would have been seven now. They described her as a happy, gentle little girl.
“My thoughts always go back to that day and how … she must have been scared and confused, not understanding why you were hurting her,” said Ellie Wordsworth.
“I think we are very forgiving people. But we will never forgive you. We don’t normally hate people, but we hate you right to the bottom of our hearts.”
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Crown prosecutor Tom Spark said there were highly aggravating factors in the case, including that Bennett was a caregiver for the girl, he delayed calling 911 and lied to medical staff about what happened.
Bennett receives an automatic life sentence for the murder conviction. Spark said Bennett should be required to serve 15 years in prison before he’s eligible for parole.
“(Ivy) was brutally murdered by Mr. Bennett. The final moments of her short life must have been filled with pain and terror — and for what? Because she was doing what three-year-old’s do,” Spark said.
“Because Mr. Bennett thought that she was ungrateful. Because Mr. Bennett wanted to play video games instead of taking care of her.”
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