May 2021

Mum who killed newborn daughter and dumped body in park bush guilty of infanticide

A 24-year-old mother has been convicted of infanticide after hiding her killing her newborn daughter moments after birth and dumping her body in a park bush.

Infanticide is an offence where a mother is responsible for the death of her child, aged under 12 months

Babita Rai, a care home worker, fatally crushed her newborn girl’s skull with repeated and ‘deliberate’ blows to the head in Aldershot Park, Hampshire, in May 2017.

The baby was left among the undergrowth behind a fence and did not die until at least two hours later.

Her mother was cleared of murder after defence lawyers claimed she was suffering PTSD and had no memory of the incident.

Rai, who was 20 at the time, had given birth under a nearby tree at night after hiding her pregnancy for months.

Rai was six months pregnant when she moved to the UK from Nepal, but concealed it from border officials, her GP and colleagues at a restaurant she worked at previously.

Her sister accompanied her from Nepal and the pair went to live with family opposite the park.

The initially unidentified child was found by the park’s keeper two days after its death, and dubbed Baby M by police.

‘Expert evidence indicates these were the result of multiple blunt force impacts and or significant crush injuries.

‘Howsoever caused, they were deliberately inflicted injuries and could not have been sustained by the baby accidentally, either during the process of labour, even a traumatic one, or afterwards, for example the baby falling on the floor.

‘The baby girl survived the injuries for perhaps between two and 12 hours, the likelihood being closer to two than 12.

Expert evidence suggests when she died she was less than six hours old.’

The judge, Mr Justice Johnson, thanked the jury for the “care” they had taken deliberating the case, which he described as “distressing and of the utmost importance”.

He adjourned the case until July 19 for a report to be prepared on Rai, from Reeves Road, Aldershot, and remanded her in custody until then.

The judge said that although “all custody options” will be considered, “historically in most cases a non-custodial penalty is imposed”.