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Mother hopes death of her daughter haunts former day home operator

MEDICINE HAT — The mother of a toddler who died of massive head trauma says she hopes her daughter’s death haunts Erin Jackman “forever.”

Sarah Hemstra’s victim impact statement was read Wednesday in a Medicine Hat, Alta., courtroom.

Jackman, a former day home operator, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing the death of 19-month-old Mercedes Pepper.

Jackman was to have been sentenced on Wednesday, but Crown and defence submissions were put over until Friday.

The court did, however, hear victim impact statements from the child’s relatives.

The girl’s father, Darren Pepper, told the court that every time he sees a girl the age of his daughter he cries.

He told the court through tears of his personal anguish, saying, “I’m hurt deeply and this will not go away.”

Jackman has been on release with conditions, but Wednesday she was taken into custody during her court appearance.

Court has been told that Jackman, 26, told police conflicting and inconsistent stories during the investigation regarding the manner in which the toddler was injured.

At first, she told Sgt. Darlene Garrecht the girl fell from a backyard play apparatus, but she later recanted that statement.

She also told the officer the little girl tripped on a toy and hit her head on floor, then later admitted pushing the girl who was “refusing to stand in time out.”

“She freaked out and screamed because I turned her back and (she) went to .... whack me and I just pushed her too hard all the way around,” Jackman told the officer.

“It looked like she hit her head on the hinge of the door.”

Jackman didn’t call 911 until more than two hours later, according to information from the police interview.

When Jackman was left alone for a brief time after the interview, the video showed her saying through tears to herself: “Oh my God. What did I do? What did I do?”

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