Monday 19 February 2018

Baby suffered 47 broken bones and was shaken to death 'for having a deformity' - court hears

Stock image
Stock image

Emily Pennick

A baby who suffered 47 broken bones and was shaken to death was "mistreated" for having a deformity, a court heard.

Mohammed Miah, 37, and Rebeka Nazmin, 31, are on trial at the Old Bailey, accused of murdering their three-month-old son Rifat Mohammed in July last year.

Over his 13 weeks of life, Rifat suffered "systematic abuse" that left him with 38 rib fractures, eight fractures to his legs and a broken spine, jurors were told.

The terrible injures were caused by "squeezing" the chest and twisting or pulling on his limbs, the court heard.

The baby was also allegedly hit with the chord of a mobile phone charger and burned on a radiator, the Old Bailey heard.

After Rifat died, his mother allegedly told authorities that her husband had a problem with their child's deformed hand and had abused him because of it.

Both parents allegedly tried to cast blame for Rifat's injuries on another child.

On finding the dead baby, Nazmin allegedly encouraged the child to "shake" the baby to create an alternate explanation for his injuries, jurors were told.

And in police interview, Miah said the same child had held Rifat "at arms length and had brought him back and forth", the court heard.

The child was also blamed for turning up a radiator that burned the baby's leg.

But another child witness told police that Miah did it in Nazmin's presence, jurors were told.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Ed Brown QC told jurors: "The death of Rifat, the three-month-old baby, represents the culmination of a series of serious assaults inflicted on him during his short life.

"These injuries caused by those who should have been caring for him - his parents.

"Or if not physically caused by both, by one and encouraged by the other, each nevertheless were criminally culpable.

"Each parent took none of the steps any reasonable parent would to prevent them being caused.

"He was found on examination to have suffered a terrible number of significant fractures. Broken bones occurred in the weeks and days leading up to his death.

"The immediate cause of death was internal head and brain injuries consistent with that young baby being violently shaken or when his head was hit against an object of some kind on the third or fourth of July last year.

"There was found after his death evidence of at least one earlier incident in which the baby Rifat was shaken, causing internal bleeding in the head which was later found in post mortem."

On the morning of July 4 last year, Rifat's mother called 999 and his father spoke to emergency services.

Paramedics arrived at the family home and found the baby "lifeless" on the floor of his mother's bedroom.

Mr Brown told jurors to examine the reaction of the parents in the "desperate moments" after the crew arrived.

On arrival at Great Ormond Street Hospital, doctors noticed "extensive burns" to Rifat's leg as well as bruises on his ears, shoulder and back.

A CT scan revealed bleeding on the brain and the following day the decision was taken to stop Rifat's life support, the court heard.

Nazmin appeared "visibly upset" and allegedly said: "He killed my baby. Tell his dad he has died, that's what he wants."

On being told that Rifat's life support was being switched off, Miah allegedly did not react and looked at the floor.

Mr Brown said: "You may think that a father, quite innocent of wrong-doing, of any violence himself that caused or contributed to death, not reacting in those circumstances is telling."

The pathologist who examined Rifat's body noted "significant and multiple previous bone injuries" to the upper body and legs, jurors were told.

Mr Brown said: "Given Rifat's age and therefore immobility, these injuries would be typical of inflicted injuries arising through the squeezing of the chest in relation to rib fractures and twisting or pulling of the limbs in relation to lower limb fractures."

The recent burns on the leg were "consistent with contact with a radiator", he said.

Miah told authorities that Rifat had fallen asleep and his legs had touched a radiator which had been turned up by a child, who cannot be identified.

After she was arrested, Nazmin allegedly suggested that her partner Miah had a problem with her child's birth defect of four undeveloped fingers.

She allegedly said to a prison officer: "If he didn't like him (the baby), why did he not leave?"

In an ABE interview, the child witness described finding Rifat dead and not breathing on July 4 last year.

The youngster asked what he should do and was allegedly told by Nazmin to "shake" the baby, which he did. He also sprinkled water on his face to rouse him.

The child also reported seeing Miah smiling as he hit the baby with a mobile phone charger cable.

The defendants, of Poplar, east London, deny murder and causing the death of Rifat.

The pair are further charged with causing or allowing Rifat to suffer serious physical harm between March 31 and July 6 last year.

Miah, described in court as "significantly overweight", is also accused of cruelty towards two other children, who cannot be identified, on July 4 last year.

Nazmin wept in court throughout the first day of the trial.

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News