Dead baby’s parents bugged by police

This is Child Abuse and this is what the Government and society needs to be bringing to an end:

Dead baby’s parents bugged by police

By CLIO FRANCIS – The Dominion Post

A couple accused of starving and beating their 11-week-old baby were caught after police secretly recorded conversations between the pair discussing her death, a jury has been told.

Azees Mahomed, 31, originally from South Africa, subjected his daughter to a sustained period of “systematic neglect and violence” before she was killed, a jury in the High Court at Auckland was told yesterday.

Tahani Mahomed died in Auckland’s Starship children’s hospital on New Year’s Day, 2008. She was admitted to Middlemore Hospital four days earlier with severe head injuries.

Mahomed, 31, is charged with murdering Tahani. He also faces two charges of grievous bodily harm, which relate to allegedly breaking his daughter’s leg and injuring her head so severely that it caused brain damage, and one count of failing to provide the necessaries of life.

His wife, Tabbasum Mahomed, 26, faces one charge of failing to provide the necessaries of life.

Both parents deny all charges.

Crown prosecutor Phillip Hamlin, in his opening statement, said police were suspicious about the death and, three days later, on the day of Tahani’s funeral, they bugged the couple’s Otahuhu home. “You will hear the two of them discuss coaching their older daughter so she doesn’t make an incriminating statement against them,” he said.

One of the recorded conversations, which was in Hindi and translated into English, detailed Tabbasum Mahomed saying: “They will question Tasmia [the sister] about what happened to Tahani, who hit/killed Tahani.”

Her husband replies: “Daddy hit/kill, Daddy hit/kill, that’s what she’ll say.”

The court was told the Hindi word used is said to be the equivalent of either hit or kill in English.

The recordings also alluded to the couple’s neglect of the baby, the court was told.

Azees Mahomed was recorded as saying police had “one big proof against us” because they knew the couple had left the baby locked in a car in hot weather and on another occasion had not changed her nappy for an entire day.

Tahani had been born healthy and of a good weight on October 7, 2007. But, just over two months later, lay dead, Mr Hamlin said.

“In 11 weeks, baby Tahani has been neglected and not fed.

“In 11 weeks, baby Tahani has been left in a hot car for hours.

“In 11 weeks, baby Tahani has brain injury from the first injury she suffered.

“In 11 weeks, baby Tahani was the victim of the second and fatal head injury,” Mr Hamlin told the jury.

The Crown alleges Tahani was murdered by her father when her head was “slammed against a very hard surface, twice”.

The second blow to head had been of such violence the child never recovered, Mr Hamlin said. Azees Mohamed was also responsible for pulling the baby’s left leg so hard it broke her shin bone.

When the parents finally took their daughter to hospital on December 28, 2007, she was gravely ill, the court heard.

The doctor who examined Tahani when she arrived at Middlemore Hospital described her as severely “malnourished”, estimating her weight to be only 4 kilograms.

Mr Hamlin said that, when the Mahomeds had arrived at the hospital, they had told medical staff “they could not understand how or why the baby was in such a critical condition”.

Tabbasum said the baby had been “alert and laughing” only a day earlier and was smiling in the car on the way to hospital.

However the Crown alleges the child’s first brain injury was so severe she would have been left unable to breathe properly, paralysed and blind.

Chris Wilkinson-Smith said his client, Azees Mahomed, was denying the “terrible accusation” he murdered his daughter.

“The simple answer is that he did not harm her.”

The Crown will call 50 witnesses for the trial which has been set down for three weeks.


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