Mother killed son, four, in bath after previous attempt to drown him, court told

A mentally ill woman killed her four-year-old son in the bath three years after telling a nurse about a previous attempt to drown him, a court has heard.

Oluwakemi Badare, 37, called emergency services to her home in Plumstead, south-east London, on December 27, 2020.

She told the operator she had killed her son by drowning but also that she had left him in the bath and forgotten about him, the Old Bailey was told.

Paramedics found four-year-old Kingswealth Badare’s wet body at the top of the stairs outside the bathroom, the court heard.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said he had scratches, bruises and skin defects on his head, neck and upper body “consistent with pressure from fingernails and focal pressure to the head”.

“These marks suggest that Kingswealth had been held under the water – and had been drowned deliberately,” he said.

Badare was charged with murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

However, Mr Atkinson said she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was not fit to plead.

He told jurors their job would be to decide whether she did the act with which she is charged – that she drowned her son deliberately or accidentally.

Badare came to the UK from Nigeria in 2009 and had a 10-year diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, the court heard.

She was receiving treatment in the community when, in 2017, she relapsed, jurors heard.

Mr Atkinson said: “At that time, she was suffering from delusions and reported to a nurse during her subsequent in-patient admission to hospital that she had held Kingswealth under water for less than a minute when she believed that she was under surveillance.

“Of course there is only the defendant’s own account of that attempt to drown her son in 2017 and it relates to a time when she was very unwell.

“However, it was recorded by the hospital and child care services in 2017.

“Moreover, the defendant repeated her account of what she had done when she was spoken to by a nurse, this time a custody nurse at the police station after her arrest for the death of her son in 2020.

“The prosecution suggest it is unlikely to be a coincidence that, when unwell, the defendant should try to drown her son in 2017 and yet in 2020, again when she was unwell, Kingswealth should actually drown by accident rather than by an act of his mother.”

Before the prosecution opening on Wednesday, Judge Richard Marks told jurors it was a “distressing case”.

He said: “It is important that you put emotion to one side, that you do not allow any upset you may feel about the background of the case influence you in any way.”

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