Baby's uncle confronts parents over her death

The parents of a five-month-old baby girl who died after suffering a "non-accidental" skull fracture have been confronted by her uncle, who asked which one of them killed her.

Sunaria Hamid-Howells was rushed to hospital from her Pontypridd home on December 30 2012 but died the following day from her injuries, Cardiff Coroner's Court heard.

On Wednesday her parents Dilshad Hamid and Katherine Howells denied in evidence that they had harmed Sunaria, saying that they had loved their daughter.

After hearing the former couple accuse each other of harming the baby, Sunaria's uncle and Ms Howell's brother, Michael Howells, said she had been a "beautiful little baby".

"The evidence suggests that either Katherine or Dilshad caused the injuries," he said.

"One of you caused her death.

"Please, before we leave this court today, please one of you stick your hand up.

"As Sunaria's uncle, I have got to know. It is just unacceptable."

The inquest was originally opened in 2015 but was adjourned by coroner Christopher Woolley.

Mr Woolley said: "On October 23 2015 I adjourned this inquest and referred the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions because, after hearing the evidence of Katherine Hamid-Howells, I was satisfied that there may be new information suggesting not only that a homicide may have taken place, but that there may have been someone responsible for that homicide."

He said the conclusion from prosecutors was that there was no realistic prospect of conviction and that nobody would face prosecution over the death.

Mr Hamid told the inquest he was giving Sunaria a bottle at around 5pm on December 30 when her arms began shaking and she went limp.

Paramedics were called and Sunaria was rushed initially to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital but was then taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff, to the paediatric intensive care unit.

Outlining the evidence given by Ms Howells on the previous occasion, Mr Woolley said she had been cleaning the bathroom floor when she heard a "really disturbing cry".

He said: "You said 'not a cry I have heard before; it's still in my head'."

Mr Woolley said Ms Howells said she heard Mr Hamid sounding "panicky" and saying "lovely, lovely, lovely" and then heard a sound like Sunaria's head going back and forward.

Ms Howells told the inquest she remembered seeing Sunaria in Mr Hamid's arms "not breathing properly".

Questioning her, Mr Hamid, who told the coroner he had never harmed Sunaria during her short life, said: "What happened to my baby?"

In a heated exchange, Ms Howells said Sunaria was "absolutely fine" when she had put her down in her basket.

She said: "I would not hurt my baby - I loved that little girl."

The inquest heard Sunaria had been taken to hospital with a rash on two occasions and had suffered a fractured leg at some point between November 8 2012 and Christmas Day.

A friend of Ms Howells also found a lump on her head on Boxing Day.

The inquest heard Ms Howells told police that Sunaria had been dropped during a trip to Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire in November, had fallen from the sofa twice and had fallen from her rocker on Christmas Day on to carpet and had a "soft landing".

Mr Woolley said doctors told the inquest that none of these incidents could explain the severity of the injuries found when she was admitted to hospital on December 30.

He said doctors subsequently found evidence of an old subdural haematoma - bleeding on the brain - which had happened several weeks before her death and a new subdural haematoma which happened 24 to 48 hours prior to her death and was "consistent with a recent non-accidental head injury".

Mr Hamid said he was born in Iraq and his language was Kurdistani.

He came to the UK in 2008 as an asylum seeker and had since been granted temporary leave to remain, he said.

Mr Hamid, who attended the hearing with his wife, said he met Ms Howells in 2009 and moved in with her in a flat in Cardiff later that year.

They moved to her family home in Pontypridd after her parents died and she became pregnant.

Mr Hamid said he "slept most of the day" on December 30 as it was a day off but woke up when Ms Howells told him dinner was nearly ready and asked him to feed Sunaria, who he said meant "everything to me".

It was then that she went limp, he said.

Mr Woolley asked if Mr Hamid had ever harmed, shaken or dropped Sunaria or twisted her limbs. 

Mr Hamid said: "Of course not," and added that he had not seen anyone else hurt her.

At the end of his evidence he said: "I want to know what is going on. I want the truth.

"I want to know what has happened. I have never done anything wrong with my baby except loving her."

Mr Woolley asked Ms Howells if she had any questions for her former partner but she said: "No, because he will just lie."

Statements given by friends of Ms Howells described her as a cautious and attentive mother and Sunaria as a "happy and contented baby".

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