"You were carrying out acts of assault against this baby"
Mother, Shalina Padmanabha, aged 33, from Buckhurst Hill, in Essex, has been jailed for six years for battering her baby daughter, Shagun, to death after going through IVF for years trying to conceive her.
Padmanabha, who is Indian born, endured Shagun to horrific abuse for three months. This was after she was kept in hospital as a premature baby with health issues for her first four and a half months of life.
Baby Shagun had serious injuries to her head. These originated from the child’s head being bashed or hit against a hard surface by her mother.
At around 3.00 am on August 15, 2017, after being found unresponsive, Shagun was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, East London in an emergency by the ambulance service.
However, sadly, Shagun passed away a short time later from the injuries despite the efforts of the medical team who tried to save her.
Subsequently, a post-mortem was conducted on the baby and it revealed that Shagun had suffered from fractures to the skull, leg injuries and cracked ribs. In addition, she had endured a bleed on the brain from the injuries.
Some of the injuries were older healing skull injuries as far back as three months whilst others were new indicating abuse had taken place for almost half her life.
A pathology report concluded that seven-month Shagun had died due to a severe head injury.
On suspicion of murder, police arrested Padmanabha and a 39-year-old man. He was later released without charge.
During the three-week trial, at Inner London Crown Court, accounts were given of how Padmanabha and her husband had been trying to conceive for years before their daughter was born in February 2016 via IVF treatment.
However, evidence of subsequent physical abuse against her baby daughter was compelling.
Prosecuting, Tracey Ayling, QC, said that a scan “revealed she had died as a result of catastrophic injuries to her head.”
Adding: “It is the Crown’s case that the defendant, her mother, inflicted those injuries.”
University-educated Padmanabha maintained she was not guilty during the trial and denied the charge of murder.
The mother claimed that Shagun’s injuries originated from her ‘wiggling’ in her moses basket, on the floor and in a baby swing. Adding that her daughter’s underlying medical issues and these movements contributed to her death.
However, judge Mrs Justice McGowan was not accepting Padmanabha’s claims and she was found guilty of manslaughter and cruelty against a person under 16 but cleared of murder at the Old Bailey.
According to The Sun, the judge said:
“You had, in my experience, an unprecedented amount of care and intervention.
“I accept entirely that you are devastated by the loss of your child.
“You were carrying out acts of assault against this baby – or knew, no doubt, almost immediately after an incident occurred that you had done something you shouldn’t.
“It is entirely wrong to say you show remorse and even now you do not accept responsibility.”
After the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Natalia Ross said:
“Shalini Padmanabha subjected her daughter to repeated assaults over the course of several weeks.
“She should have protected Shagun but, instead, was the person who caused her death and this is something she will have to live with for the rest of her life.
“This has been a particularly tough case to investigate for the officers involved, many of whom are parents themselves, and I want to praise their professionalism and dedication in the search for justice.”