Mother who searched ‘I want to give up my child’ found guilty of causing death of baby daughter

A mother who caused her baby daughter’s death after searching “I want to give up my child” online while keeping her in a “chaotic and dirty” home is facing jail.

Nafahat, 11 months, died of a chest infection after weeks of neglect at the hands of 25-year-old Fartun Jamal (pictured) at her flat in Kingfisher Way, Brent Park, London.

The mother made a series of web searches, including “I can’t cope with my child anymore” and “I want to give up my child”, while living with the baby in early 2019.

She knew Nafahat was unwell with a “very high temperature” and poor appetite but failed to take her to a doctor, jurors were told during a trial at Harrow Crown Court.

Visitors in the weeks leading up to the baby’s death recalled her cot was broken and the flat was overrun with takeaway boxes, dirty plates and nappies.

On February 22, social services attended the property after concerns were raised by a babysitter.

However, they warned Jamal ahead of their visit and, when they arrived, they found the flat was clean and the situation had improved.

A second social services visit, without warning, was planned for March 13 – the day Nafahat died.

When paramedics were called to the property by a neighbour at 12.24pm, Jamal told them she had found her daughter’s body after having a dream the baby had “stopped breathing”.

During the three-week trial, jurors were told the baby had been ill from at least March 4 and could have been saved had her mother sought adequate medical care.

Jamal claimed a GP had told her Nafahat “look(ed) fine” and “if it gets worse, give her some Calpol” when she raised concerns about her daughter’s health in the weeks before her death.

But prosecutor Edward Brown QC told jurors the mother had never spoken with a doctor.

Instead, Jamal had called the nearest surgery twice but never got through to a GP, with receptionists “adamant” they would not have offered her medical advice, the court was told.

Jamal had an abusive upbringing and moved to the UK from Somalia at a young age without her mother, jurors heard.

Giving evidence, she said when Nafahat was born she “instantly fell in love with her the moment I got hold of her”.

But she told jurors she became “depressed” and “anxious” due to being a parent with little support.

“I felt useless because of the life I had growing up. I didn’t want the same (for her),” she said.

Nicolly Ruffo, a babysitter who attended the home on March 8, said the property smelt of “old milk,” with the cupboards empty of food apart from crisps.

Another babysitter, Aimee Whittaker-George, contacted social services about the living conditions after visiting the home on February 13.

A witness statement from Dr Michael Coren, a consultant paediatrician, said: “There was clear evidence of neglect in the family home of Ms Jamal.”

He said there were “environmental signs of neglect” and the flat was “chaotic and dirty”.

Jamal was charged with one count of causing Nafahat’s death by neglect, two counts of child cruelty in relation to Nafahat, and a third count of child cruelty in relation to another child.

A jury found her guilty on Friday of all four counts after deliberating for nearly nine hours.

Judge Rosa Dean told Jamal, who wept as the verdicts were read, it was “highly likely” she would receive a custodial sentence.

The 25-year-old was released on bail ahead of sentence at the same court on 29 April.

Detective Chief Inspector Madeline Ryder, the senior investigating officer, said: “This is an absolutely tragic case that resulted in the needless death of an innocent baby.

“No child should ever have to suffer in this manner.

“Baby Nafahat was only 11 months old when she died in squalid conditions, surrounded by walls covered in faeces.

“She died of an illness that was very, very treatable if Jamal had bothered to seek medical attention.

“What is even more harrowing, is that her GP’s surgery was less than 70 metres away from where she died and could be seen from Nafahat’s bedroom window, so help for Nafahat was within very easy reach.”

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