Mystery surrounds whereabouts of Saudi woman guilty of insulin child poisoning
Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of a Saudi Arabian woman who was found guilty in her absence of poisoning a young girl with insulin at a London children’s hospital.
Amal Asiri, 29, and her husband Mohammed Asiri, 38, went missing days before their Old Bailey trial.
The couple were jointly accused after a girl was found to have been given “dangerous” amounts of artificial insulin, which is used to treat diabetes.
Following a trial in their absence, Amal Asiri, of Kensington, west London, was found guilty of child cruelty, but her husband was cleared.
She was also convicted of administering a noxious substance so as to endanger life after the jury deliberated for three hours.
Adjourning sentencing until November 4, Judge Mark Lucraft QC (pictured) told jurors: “Neither Mr nor Mrs Asiri were here for their trial.
“In fact, until the Friday before their trial they were thought to be in this country and there was evidence they attended a mosque the Friday before their trial was due to start.
“Their current whereabouts is unknown. The court can proceed to sentence in the absence of Mrs Asiri.”
The court had heard how Mohammed Asiri worked in the Saudi military and had married Amal Asiri when she was 14 years old.
On February 13 last year, the young child was admitted to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, having arrived from Saudi Arabia in a private air ambulance.
Over the next four weeks, the child was repeatedly injected with insulin by Amal Asiri despite not needing it, jurors heard.
The effect was to reduce the child’s blood sugar “to dangerous levels”, prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said.
She told jurors: “If left untreated, the person may become unconscious and suffer fits. If really prolonged and severe, then permanent brain damage or death can occur.”
Jurors were told different nurses were on duty at the time of the incidents so it was “not a case where a rogue nurse was harming a patient”.
And when the defendants were stopped from attending the hospital, the attacks also stopped.
A doctor became concerned at the child’s erratic blood sugar levels and sent samples to the hospital laboratory for testing.
The results revealed high levels of insulin but were unable to identify whether it was naturally occurring or artificially administered.
The samples were sent on to the Royal Hospital in Guildford for specialist tests which confirmed the fears.
In a search of the child’s hospital cubicle, insulin pens were found in a bag, and more were recovered from the defendant’s flat.
In a police interview on March 10 last year, the defendants denied giving the child insulin.
It was argued on their behalf that if artificial insulin was found, someone else must have administered it.
The jury was not told that the defendants were wanted by police for failing to turn up for their trial, only that they were absent.
It emerged during legal argument that the defendants were last seen on September 27 at the Saudi embassy.
CCTV footage at their home in Kensington showed four suitcases being handed over to a courier the previous Monday.
The court heard that police had later found an invoice for £280 from Global Choice travel at the couple’s flat.
Global Choice organised their suitcases to be taken by a courier having previously been responsible for paying the rent on behalf of the Saudi embassy, the court heard.
Both defendants were having their legal bills and rent paid for by the Saudi embassy.
But defence lawyer David Perry QC insisted there was no evidence or information that the Saudi government was complicit in the couple’s disappearance.
He said the Saudi Arabian embassy had confirmed no travel documents had been applied for or used by the defendants.
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