Twenty-seven-year-old Michael Daymond denied murdering Maya Chappell.
But a jury at Teesside Crown Court today unanimously agreed that the toddler had died from fatal head injuries inflicted by him.
Maya’s mother, Dana Carr, was also found guilty of allowing the death of the defenceless youngster because she failed to raise the alarm despite seeing bruises on her daughter.
Daymond spent the day supposedly caring for her on the afternoon of September 28 when Maya fell seriously ill at their home in Milton Grove, Shotton Colliery.
As paramedics and police carried out CPR, Daymond, who had rung Carr before dialling 999, was on the phone in another room concerned that his Universal Credit payments had been stopped.
Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Maya was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, but sadly never regained consciousness and later died two days later.
Maya died because of head injuries which medical experts say could only have been caused by shaking.
During the three-week trial, the jury heard how Daymond and Carr, who have also been found guilty of child neglect, had only been dating for a matter of weeks when he moved in where Maya lived.
The court was also told how Carr and Maya’s father, James Chappell, had split up acrimoniously and she was besotted with her new partner.
Soon after Daymond began looking after Maya while Carr was at work.
Read more: These criminals from the Hartlepool area are starting a total of 52 years behind bars between them
After a significant number of bruises began to appear on Maya’s face and body, the couple took her out of nursery so as not to raise the alarm.
Family members raised concerns but were told that these were self-inflicted because Maya was nipping herself and walking into things.
Daymond, who did not give evidence at the trial, inflicted the injuries on Maya over several weeks when he was alone with her.
He would message Carr, 24, while she was at work with a series of lies to cover up his horrific behaviour.
Despite being alerted to the situation, Carr did nothing to stop her daughter getting hurt, instead frequently telling Daymond she loved him and would not leave him.
She repeatedly lied to family members so not to raise the alarm and failed to mention the bruises, which would have been hidden by clothing when she took Maya to doctors with an ear infection.
Maya sustained fatal head injuries at some point during a four-hour period when the only person to see her was Daymond.
Detective Superintendent Chris Barker, of Durham Constabulary, who led the investigation. He said: “Maya Chappell died at the hands of someone who should have been caring for her.
“Maya was defenceless. She was two years old and should have felt safe at home, learning, playing, and having fun but instead she lived in constant fear of what Michael Daymond was going to do to her next.
“She was too young to be able to tell anyone of her suffering and her mother Dana Carr who knew about the bruises but failed to act.
“Daymond thought he could get away with causing her pain by feeding those around him repeated lies and excuses.
“Eventually he killed her. But his cowardly unwillingness to admit what he did means we may never know why he killed Maya or exactly what went on in the weeks leading up to her death.
“What we do know is Maya didn’t deserve to die.
“I am grateful to the jury for seeing through Daymond’s abhorrent behaviour and convicting him today.
“Sadly, nothing will bring Maya back, but we hope the outcome here today brings some closure for those who truly cared about her.”
Daymond and Carr will be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on Friday, December 22.
Anyone who has any concerns about the welfare of a child should contact Durham Constabulary on 101 or 999 in an emergency.