mother

Nepalese care worker, 24, who gave birth to secret baby girl in darkness behind a Hampshire park tree, killed her by crushing her skull and abandoned the body is spared jail after court heard she felt ‘intolerable’ shame for being an unwed mother

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9826239/Care-worker-mother-24-spared-jail-killing-newborn-crushing-skull.html

Nepalese care worker, 24, who gave birth to secret baby girl in darkness behind a Hampshire park tree, killed her by crushing her skull and abandoned the body is spared jail after court heard she felt ‘intolerable’ shame for being an unwed mother

  • Babita Rai crushed her newborn baby’s skull and left body by a tree in a park 
  • The 24-year-old inflicted ‘deliberate’ repeated blows to the head of the baby
  • A gardener discovered the baby’s body in the park in Aldershot four days later 
  • Rai was cleared of murder but guilty of infanticide at Winchester Crown Court 
  • Rai was told she was ‘free to leave’ after spending more than a year in custody

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 12:23, 26 July 2021 | Updated: 13:15, 26 July 2021

A 24-year-old care worker who killed her newborn baby was spared jail today despite shattering the little girl’s skull shortly after birth and leaving the body in a park until she was found four days later. Babita Rai, 24, inflicted ‘dreadful’ injuries on her newborn baby after dark and then ‘left her for dead’ next to a tree in Aldershot, Hampshire, in 2017.  She was cleared of murder by a jury following a two week trial having been hunted by police for at least three years after the baby’s death, before her arrest in 2020. Jurors today heard Rai 20 at the time was around six months pregnant when she entered the country from Nepal but concealed it from border officials, her GP, and colleagues at a restaurant she worked at because of the ‘shame’ surrounding births out of wedlock in her home country. She was convicted of infanticide in May and today after spending more than a year in custody since her initial arrest Rai was told she was ‘free to leave’ by a judge at Winchester Crown Court, Hampshire. She was ordered to undertake two years of community work and rehabilitation activity for 30 days.  The crime of infanticide was introduced in England in the 1920s to ensure women who killed their children in their first year would not be charged with murder, and therefore sentenced to death. It applies if the mother is found to have mental health arising from giving birth or a disorder from giving birth. Rai crushed the tiny infant’s skull after giving birth besides a tree and dumped her body in a park within hours of giving birth. The 24 year old was said to have given her daughter ‘deliberate’ repeated blows to the head immediately after her labour, causing ‘significant’ and fatal fractures. A gardener trimming shrubs at the edge of the public park made the horrific discovery in undergrowth some four days later, initially believing the dead baby’s body to be a ‘child’s doll’.  The Honourable Mr Justice Johnson said Rai who did not have a partner was under ‘intolerable pressure’ as her Nepali family would have regarded the baby as a ‘curse not a blessing’. During her trial earlier this year the court heard Rai 20 at the time was around six months pregnant when she entered the country from Nepal in February 2017 but concealed it from border officials, her GP, and colleagues at a restaurant she worked at. The court heard the baby was born alive at 35 weeks gestation on the night of May 15 2017, weighing 4lbs 12oz. Her dead body was found in Manor Park in Aldershot, Hants, the town where Rai was living. In his opening, prosecutor Adam Feest QC said: ‘Within a very short time of birth, the baby suffered multiple fractures to her skull with associated internal bleeding and brain swelling. ‘Expert evidence indicates these were the result of multiple blunt force impacts and or significant crush injuries. Howsoever caused, they were deliberately inflicted injuries and could not have been sustained by the baby accidentally, either during the process of labour, even a traumatic one, or afterwards, for example the baby falling on the floor. The baby girl survived the injuries for perhaps between two and 12 hours, the likelihood being closer to two than 12. Expert evidence suggests when she died she was less than six hours old. The jury was told the petite kitchen worker could have been helped by another person in inflicting the injuries on ‘Baby M’, in what may have been a ‘joint enterprise’.

Rai had denied charges of murder and infanticide at her trial. Michael Turner QC, defending, said she was suffering from PTSD at the time and has no memory of the incident. He said: ‘A lack of memory goes hand in hand with someone whose balance of mind was disturbed. She can’t plead guilty to something she can’t remember but she’s not shirking away from her responsibilities.’

Judge Johnson described Rai as ‘a young woman living in a patriarchal society in Nepal’ but when she came to give birth ‘the psychological trauma’ from which she had been suffering ‘came to a head’. No longer could you deny the newborn living baby girl,’ he said. You or very possible a person you were with inflicted dreadful injuries on that baby girl. She was left for dead and she died. ‘So far as you were concerned, the balance of your mind was disturbed. You are a woman of good character. This offence was committed when you were under the must intolerable pressure.'[You were] living in a country that was not your home where you did not speak the language, where you were unable to access the services that are there to assist pregnant women and new mothers, and were wholly dependent on your family for whom this baby would have been regarded as a curse and not a blessing. ‘The offence of infanticide recognises that the criminal responsibility of a mother in these circumstances is often very greatly reduced.’Mr Feest QC said following the incident a large investigation and public enquiry began, but Rai ‘made no response’ to any of the enquiries and never sought medical or police help in relation to the birth and death. Subsequent investigations and DNA evidence later revealed Rai to be the mother but following her arrest in March 2020 she gave a ‘no comment’ interview. Grainy CCTV from 11pm to midnight on the night of May 15 was shown to jurors, showing two people walking around the vicinity of the birth site. One member of the public recalled seeing a small Asian woman around 10.40pm that night looking ‘dishevelled’, ’embarrassed he had seen her’, and ‘appearing to wish to remain out of sight’. The child was given the name Baby M by police. The 4ft 10ins Rai, who is Nepalese, was found guilty of infanticide by a jury on May 5 this year. She will pay a statutory charge of £85, will be under a community order of two years and undertake rehabilitation activities for 30 days after remaining in custody for two years 40 days.

What is infanticide and how is it applied in the UK courts?

Infanticide was introduced in the United Kingdom in the 1920s. It allows for mothers who kill their children not to be sentenced with murder, if they are found to be suffering a disturbed mind. Those mental health issues must arise from giving birth or a disorder from giving birth and the crime must be committed in the child’s first year. Infanticide cases in the UK are very rare.  The law describes the crime as: ‘Where a woman by any wilful act or omission causes the death of her child being a child under the age of twelve months, but at the time of the act or omission the balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to the child or by reason of the effect of lactation consequent upon the birth of the child.’ 

One recent case was of Natasha Sultan, a young mother from Hull, was given a three-year supervision order in 2015 for killing her five-week-old daughter in an ‘explosion of violence’. The judge said she was an ‘utterly broken woman’ and ‘the burden [of her actions] would never be lifted’.  

Revealed: Chilling social media posts of teenage mother who ‘carried on like normal’ and tried to become a Pretty Little Thing model AFTER leaving her 20-month old daughter to die alone while she partied for her 18th birthday

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9406105/Teen-mother-admits-killing-20-month-old-daughter.html

Revealed: Chilling social media posts of teenage mother who ‘carried on like normal’ and tried to become a Pretty Little Thing model AFTER leaving her 20-month old daughter to die alone while she partied for her 18th birthday 

  • Verphy Kudi’s daughter Asiah Kudi died at home in Brighton in December 2019
  • Mother seen on CCTV leaving flat on her birthday and returning six days later 
  • Today, Kudi spoke only confirm her name and enter guilty plea for manslaughter  
  • Baby not under a child protection plan and there was no social worker assigned
  • Lived in sheltered housing block where staff are on duty by the front entrance 

By Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Published: 11:24, 26 March 2021 | Updated: 09:49, 27 March 2021

A mother who went on a six-day bender leaving her baby to starve to death took to social media to sell concert tickets on the day the body was found before campaigning to become a model. Verphy Kudi’s daughter Asiah perished in a flat at a ‘supported housing’ block in Brighton in December 2019 after being left alone for six days with no food or water.  A serious case review has been launched into the 20-month-old baby’s death after she was abandoned by her mother who went to London, Coventry and Solihull to celebrate her 18th birthday.  Now, it has been revealed Kudi tried to sell concert tickets on Twitter on the day the baby’s body was found. Another tweet showed her attempting to become a Pretty Little Thing model months after Asiah’s death.  Kudi’s flat was one of eight in a residential complex run by charity YMCA DownsLink to house vulnerable young families on behalf of Brighton City Council. YMCA DownsLink staff are located at the entrance to the block at all times. Residents with social workers can receive visits but because the flats are independent units YMCA staff do not enter the living areas or carry out regular inspections. Baby Asiah did not have a social worker. Kudi has repeatedly gone missing since the age of 14 and been the subject of numerous police appeals. MailOnline has asked the council if she had a social worker at the time of her baby’s death. Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) an association of council services, police and NHS has launched a serious case review into the case. The mother, now 19, was seen on CCTV leaving the flat on her birthday before attending parties in London, Coventry and Solihull more than 150 miles away in the Midlands. A post-mortem examination and forensic tests found that Asiah starved, was dehydrated and developed flu. Her cause of death was given as neglect. Today, Kudi appeared at Lewes Crown Court to enter a guilty plea to manslaughter as her father watched on. Speaking after the hearing, Muba Kudi, 59, said: ‘My heart is so broken. My daughter was missing. She had been missing since the age of 14.’ 

Kudi’s sister, Aisha Batrane told MailOnline: ‘This whole situation has completely broken my family. It might be entertainment for the rest of the world but it’s totally shattered us. ‘We are heartbroken and angry at how Verphy behaved. Verphy had been estranged from the family for quite a long time and we had minimal contact with her. We have spoken to her and we’re still not clear what she was doing for those six days, who she was with and why she left like that? Who the hell knows? We can’t understand it. As a family we now want to be left alone to grieve and try and understand what’s happened.’

This morning, the judge ordered that all social services records relating to the case be disclosed to the defence ahead of sentencing.  The court heard how, after returning home from the party spree in December 2019, Kudi called 999 saying her baby would not wake up.  Asiah was taken to Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton but was declared dead on arrival.  Today, Kudi held her hands to her face after the charge of manslaughter was read to her. She spoke only to answer guilty to the charge and confirm her name.  Wearing a plain black top and black trousers with a blue medical face mask, she wiped a tear from eyes as her father looked on from the public gallery. Muba Kudi Verphy Kudi’s father sat with his arms crossed throughout the short hearing at Lewes Crown Court. His daughter waved at him from the dock when court staff pointed him out.  Asiah was born on March 22, 2018 and was only 20-months-old when she died. It is not clear who the baby’s father was.  She had been living at the flat in Brighton with her mother where they had been housed by social services since September 30, 2019.  Cameras showed Kudi leaving the building on December 5 at 5.39pm. She did not return until December 11, when at 6.06pm she dialled 999 telling a call handler her baby would not wake up. A few days later, staff at the Brighton mother and baby unit for teen mothers where they had been living contacted police after reviewing CCTV footage.   Data gathered by Sussex Police showed Kudi had been at parties in London, Coventry and Solihull before returning to Brighton. Kudi admitted the manslaughter of her daughter between December 4 and 12. Asiah was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton on Wednesday December 11.  Judge Christine Laing QC told Kudi: ‘You have heard that before I get to sentence you the defence want to get a report on your behalf and a doctor will no doubt make arrangements to see you and interview you over the next few weeks.’ 

The case was adjourned to a provisional sentencing date of May 28, but Kudi was warned this may be delayed. Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Asiah. In our safeguarding role, we will work with our partners to look into what has happened and carry out a Child Safeguarding Practice Review. This includes working with our partner Sussex Police to make sure our review is carried out in support of or alongside their ongoing actions in this case.’ 

YMCA Downslink said: ‘This tragedy has shocked us all. Our staff, particularly those who work the complex, have been and continue to be, deeply affected by it. Verphy Kudi and her daughter, Asiah had been living at the independent living flats, for 11 weeks, when Asiah died. We will be working with the Safeguarding Practice Review to understand any lessons that can be learned from this tragedy. Our sympathies and thoughts are with the family and everyone affected by this tragic event.’ 

YMCA DownsLink was handed a three-year contract worth £336,000 by Brighton council to run the accommodation, starting on Sunday 1 September 2019, Brighton and Hove News reported.  The contact offered a ‘medium’ level of support for families, with all flats self-contained with their own kitchen, space for staff on duty, and a communal area for group activities.  It is not clear whether any staff visited the unit while Asiah was there alone. MailOnline has YMCA DownsLink.  The service used to be run by Peabody, which still owns the building and currently leases it to the council. Family Mosaic Housing, which later merged with Peabody, paid £15.5 million for the flats in November 2014. The Senior Investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, said; ‘This was a particularly distressing case for my team and me to investigate, and has caused great sorrow amongst Verphy’s family and the many agencies that have supported Verphy and Asiah. We note the guilty plea entered in this case, and continue to prepare for Verphy’s sentencing in May.’ 

A council spokesperson said: ‘We have been deeply saddened by this tragedy. The case is currently the subject of criminal proceedings, and the city’s Safeguarding Children Partnership is also conducting a review of the circumstances in to the tragic death of this young child. We are undertaking an internal review, which will feed into the partnership review. We have fully supported the police investigation, and are committed to working with the Partnership in its review and taking learning from this. Asiah was not on a child protection plan and was not involved with social work services when she died. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further while the criminal proceedings and reviews are ongoing.’

‘I was sexually abused at 9 by mum and brother I had to dig up my dead baby to get justice’

WARNING: UPSETTING CONTENT. Maureen Wood kept her horrific childhood abuse secret for three decades, before finally feeling able to police that she had been sexually assaulted by her mother, step-father and brother

By Ann Cusack & Zoe Forsey Features Editor

  • 16:45, 17 MAR 2021
  • Updated16:49, 17 MAR 2021

Maureen Wood was first raped by her older brother on her ninth birthday. A year later, their step-father walked in on the abuse she felt relieved as she believed he would protect her and the nightmare would end. But he did nothing, and a few months later began abusing her too. She now had two abusers to cope with. “I hoped against hope that my mum might step in and help me. But she walked into my bedroom and called me a ‘little wh*re'”, Maureen says.

Soon after her tenth birthday, Maureen’s mother became involved with the abuse. Maureen says: “They used to make me sleep in their bed, between them, and they took it in turns to abuse me. My mum helped to get me ready for when my step-dad would rape me. It felt like the end of the world. With them all against me, I had nowhere to turn.”

Maureen kept her horrific childhood abuse a secret for three decades before telling police the horrifying things she had been through as a child. She had given birth to a son as a result of a rape by her brother but he tragically suffered a cot death. And it was the exhumation of his body, more than two decades after his death, which brought justice for his mother from beyond the grave. Maureen’s childhood torment had remained secret for most of her life, until she bravely called in police. Her abusers were jailed and Maureen launched a legal action against the social services who were supposed to have protected her. The brave mum of five was later awarded £200,000 in an out of court settlement from Staffordshire County Council. She has now written a book, entitled: ‘A Family Secret’ which will be released this week. Mum of five Maureen, 50, says: “The minute I went to the police, all my fear was lifted. It wasn’t my shame and guilt to deal with any more. By going to court, I handed the fear and shame back to my family. My baby son, Christopher, was vital to the prosecution’s case. The police had warned me that they would be unlikely to get a viable DNA sample from his body – but when he was exhumed, his body was intact and the sample was perfect. It feels as though he was looking down on me from heaven, helping me. He is a true angel my guardian angel.”

In 2015 Maureen received a settlement from social services, following a lengthy legal case in which she claimed they had failed to protect her from her brother as a child. Maureen says: “It was a kick in the teeth, I felt like I had been let down twice; by my family and then by the social workers. I took my children on a month long holiday to Disney with the money. But it doesn’t change what happened to me. I brought the case, not for the money, but to ensure that they don’t let this happen to another child.”

At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court in October 2011, her stepfather, John Wood, then 68, was convicted of seven counts of rape and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Her 46-year-old brother John Donnelly, received two years in jail after admitting rape, incest and indecent assault. In a re-trial, her mother, Maureen Wood (senior), then 65, was found guilty of four counts of aiding and abetting the rape of a girl under 16. She was jailed in October 2011 for nine years. She says: “The abuse by my mother was, and still is, the hardest thing to process. As a mother, you nurture and protect your child but she destroyed me.”

Maureen had been placed in care at the age of three, after her parents separated. Four years later, her mother, Maureen senior, took her and her older brother, John, back out of care and they were introduced to their new step-father John Wood. When Maureen was eight, the sexual abuse began. She says: “I remember every detail of that day. We had been outside, having a water fight, and as I dried off in the bathroom, my brother, John, who we called Jock, came in and started touching me. I didn’t understand what he was doing but I knew it felt wrong and it was horrible.”

On her ninth birthday, Maureen was raped for the first time. A year later, their step-father walked in as she was being raped. Maureen says: “I felt relieved – because I thought he would stop it. I thought he would look after me.”

Instead, her step-father said nothing. And weeks later, he began abusing Maureen too. he says: “I hoped against hope that my mum might step in and help me. But she walked into my bedroom and called me a ‘little wh**e.'”

Soon after her tenth birthday, Maureen’s mother became involved with the abuse.

Despite her horrific family life, Maureen enjoyed school and did well academically. She had friends but confided in nobody. She says: “My family threatened that if I told anyone, I’d end up in care again. I was terrified of that. They said nobody would believe me and that I’d get into trouble with the police. It was difficult because, to the outside world, my parents were respectable people. They worked at a local social club and they were managers at the Masonic hall too. They were well-known and well-liked. I tried running away and once stayed away for two days. But the police found me and took me home.”

When she was 13, Maureen fell pregnant. By the time she realised, it was too late for a termination. Maureen says: “My mother was mortified; all she worried about was what the neighbours would think of her, with a 13-year-old pregnant daughter. Yet of course she knew that either her own husband or her son was the father. But she just blanked that out. The abuse stopped while I was pregnant. For the first time in my life I could remember, I wasn’t being abused and it was like a little piece of heaven. I was ordered to tell people that I was raped by a stranger but I knew, for certain, that my baby’s father was my brother.”

In October 1984, Maureen gave birth to a son, Christopher. He was born on her brother’s 19th birthday. She says: “Christopher had blond hair, blue eyes. It didn’t matter why he came about, or where he came from. He was mine. That maternal instinct kicked in immediately. I adored him with all of my heart and for the first time in my life, I felt what love was.”

But just under a month later, he suffered a cot death. Maureen discovered his body. She says: “When he died, I felt like my life had ended, my world had finished. He was the only person I truly loved. It was raining the day we buried him. I felt like the heavens were crying with me. I just wanted to die.”

After Christopher’s death, Maureen’s mother and brother stopped abusing her. But her stepfather began assaulting her again only a couple of weeks afterwards. The abuse continued until, at 16, Maureen left home. She had suffered eight years of horrific abuse. She says: “My teens were very difficult. I was grieving for Christopher and I felt very angry and confused. I drank too much and I went off the rails a bit.”

But despite finally finding happiness, Maureen was haunted by nightmares of the abuse. She realised she had to seek justice and eventually she contacted police. Maureen says: “It was 29 years since the abuse began and so the CPS insisted that the only way they would take the case to court was if the Home Office would approve an exhumation of Christopher. His DNA would prove that my brother was his father, and that I had been telling the truth. I was warned that the DNA sample was unlikely to be viable. Yet when his body was exhumed it was almost intact. The sample was perfect and it proved I had been telling the truth. It was almost as if Christopher was watching over me, helping my court case. He was and still is my guardian angel.”

Christopher’s body was exhumed in July 2009 and reburied a month later. Maureen has no pictures of him but she has the small plaque from Christopher’s original coffin. She says: “I didn’t want my baby to be exhumed. But it was the only way. The night before, I went to his grave and came away with a sense of peace. I felt I had his support.”

Maureen’s step-father, brother and mother were all convicted of the abuse. Her mother died in prison and Maureen found it in her heart to attend the funeral. She says: “My mum and step-dad never apologised. But my brother pleaded guilty and told me he was sorry. I still grieve for the childhood I didn’t have and for the mother I didn’t have. I think of Christopher every day. Writing a book is my way of making sure that my voice and the voices of so many others who suffer is heard.”

Maureen’s book is available on Amazon.