Father found guilty of murdering deformed son

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A father has been found guilty of murdering his deformed baby after both parents attempted to shift the blame for his death on to a young autistic child.

Over 13 weeks of his life, little Rifat was subjected to "systematic" abuse while in the care of his parents, culminating in fatal brain injuries in July last year.

The prosecution argued that Rebeka Nazmin and Mohammed Miah had tried to deflect suspicion onto another child in the house, who had behavioural problems in the past.

A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for 10 hours to find Miah, 37, of Poplar, east London, guilty of murder and causing suffering to Rifat by a majority of 11 to one.

Nazmin, 32, was cleared of murder but found guilty by majority of causing or allowing the death of her baby and causing him suffering.

Miah was cleared of cruelty to two other children, who told how they were whipped with a mobile phone charger cable.

The child's mother wept in the dock as the jury delivered its verdicts.

Mr Justice Spencer said he would adjourn sentencing of the couple until Wednesday.

The jury had heard how Nazmin called 999 for an ambulance to come to the family home in St Leonard's Road on the morning of July 4 last year.

Rifat was found apparently lifeless on the floor near where his "significantly overweight" father was lying on the bed.

He was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he died from brain injuries the following day.

The infant, who wore a baby grow with the words "I love my mummy", had been either severely shaken or hit against a hard surface.

An examination of his body revealed 38 rib fractures, eight fractures to his legs and a broken spine from being squeezed and pulled.

The baby was also hit with the chord of a mobile phone charger and burned on a radiator, the trial heard.

Both parents tried to avoid responsibility by placing the blame for Rifat's death on another child in the house, prosecutor Ed Brown QC has said.

The court was told the child, who is on the autistic spectrum, had behavioural problems at his former primary school.

But since receiving specialist help in class, he had turned into a "charming" and "delightful" child in the months before Rifat's death.

In police interview, Miah said the same child had held Rifat "at arm's length and had brought him back and forth", the court heard.

In an interview with police, the child said Nazmin had instructed him to shake Rifat and flick water on his face in an apparent attempt to throw suspicion away from her husband.

Under cross-examination by video link, the primary-school age child, who cannot be identified, told jurors: "I see Rifat in the corner, red and hot, then doing something, then he just lies there doing nothing. He didn't even wake up.

"I felt his head if he had temperature. I told (Nazmin) about it and she said I should shake him or put water on him. If he wakes, he's fine. If not, I will have to call the ambulance."

Following Rifat's death, Nazmin also said her husband had a problem with their baby's deformed hand and ear, saying he might have abused him because of it.

She was heard to say: "He killed my baby. Tell his dad he has died, that's what he wants."

Giving evidence, Miah denied hurting his baby son, saying that children "mean the world to me".

He admitted disciplining the two other children with the electrical cable but only to teach them a lesson not to hit each other with it.

An NSPCC spokesman said: "In his tragically short life, Rifat suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of his own father, the very person who should have been protecting and nurturing him.

"His catalogue of injuries is deeply shocking and everyone who has followed this trial will have been deeply affected by the evidence of brutality that blighted Rifat's 13 weeks of life."

Detective Inspector Ken Hughes, of Scotland Yard, said: "We may never know why a mother and father inflicted such terrible injuries on their own small baby.

"Even if we had that knowledge, I am not sure we could ever understand.

"This baby should have been protected and loved; instead he lived with hurt, indifference and brutality.

"I am glad that these two have been called to account for their actions and now face the consequences of their cruelty."