Mentally ill mother deliberately drowned four-year-old son in bath, jury finds

A mentally ill woman deliberated drowned her four-year-old son in the bath after confessing to an earlier attempt three years before, a jury has found.

Oluwakemi Badare, 37, gave conflicting accounts when she 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.

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”, prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC had said.

He said the marks suggested Kingswealth had been held under the water and drowned deliberately.

Badare, who came to the UK from Nigeria in 2009, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia for 10 years and received treatment in the community.

In 2017, she suffered a relapse and while in hospital told a nurse that she had held Kingswealth under water for less than a minute when she believed that she was under surveillance.

Mr Atkinson told jurors: “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.”

Badare was unfit to stand trial for murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Instead, jurors were asked to consider whether she did the acts alleged, either than she drowned Kingswealth deliberately or that he died by accident.

The jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for nearly nine hours to find that the defendant intentionally killed her son.

Judge Richard Marks QC adjourned sentencing in the case until July 20.

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