In an emotional courtroom scene, the nanny identified only as Alexandra S. tearfully confessed to shaking the 14-month-old Christopher to death in what the presiding judge called a fit of “momentary irritation” because he refused to take his mid-afternoon nap.
The defendant, herself a single mother, had been a nanny since 2005 and was raising three foster children in addition to her two daughters.
In announcing the sentence, Judge Manfred Götzl described Alexandra S. as being determined to put Christopher to sleep.
“It was important to her that he got used to falling asleep, she wanted success,” Götzl said. After Christopher refused to sleep, began to cry and tried to get up, Alexandra S. took the boy and, despite her experience as a nanny, shook him hard twice.
As Alexandra S. looked on, the judge said she should have known that small children at Christopher's age do not have strong enough neck muscles to hold up their heads through the kind of shaking she administered.
The toddler quieted down after the shaking, though Alexandra S. soon realised something was wrong with his breathing and called medics, though she did not tell them that she shook the child. Christopher died in hospital two days later
In addition to the prison sentence, Alexandra S. must also pay the child's parents €10,000.
The parents' lawyer, Claus-Peter Gantert, told reporters he was satisfied with the court's judgment.
“I hope that this day gives closure to the parents and lets them move on from the death of Christopher,” Gantert said. His mother is pregnant again and expects to deliver the baby in September.