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Mum who caused son's death was insane - court

[Press center 1] time:2023-06-02 04:00:43 source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center5 click:134order

A mother who caused the death of her son by fasting was insane at the time, a court has heard.

Olabisi Abubakar, now sectioned, was found thin and dehydrated next to the body of son Taiwo at their flat in Cathays, Cardiff, in June 2020.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the 42-year-old was a devout pentecostal Christian who had fasted for many years.

On Friday, a jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity of a charge of manslaughter and two of child cruelty.

During her trial, two psychiatrists said Abubakar was suffering with paranoid schizophrenia during the pandemic.

The former hairdresser became "engulfed by her religious beliefs" and began fasting for long periods with her young son due to personal pressures and fears about Covid, the court heard.

She was sectioned the day after police forced their way into her home on Cwmdare Street on 29 June, 2020.

Inside they found Ms Abubakar malnourished and her son dead.

A post-mortem examination found Taiwo had been dead for some time.

The court previously heard the boy weighed just 9.8kg (1st 5lb) and had died of malnutrition and dehydration.

Ms Abubakar, detained in hospital for paranoid schizophrenia treatment, was later charged.

She became distressed when the verdict was read after four hours of deliberations.

Discharging the jury, Judge Mrs Justice Jefford thanked them for their work.

She said the case had been one in which a "sociable, good and caring" mother had suffered from a mental illness that resulted in her child's death.

She told them she was likely to impose hospital orders when the defendant returned to court next Tuesday.

During the trial, Mark Heywood, prosecuting, described how police officers found a "tragic and distressing scene".

He said: "The evidence suggests that in 2020, fearful of the coronavirus pandemic and under personal pressure, she caused Taiwo to fast both of food and water along with her."

Officers found a note on food in a fridge that said: "Do not touch anything, whooping cough, virus, save yourself."

It is believed Ms Abubakar, who arrived as an asylum seeker in the UK from Nigeria in in 2011, had been fasting for three to four months before she and her son were discovered.

Ms Abubakar, who attended her trial via video link from hospital, accepted she committed the alleged acts, but said she was not guilty by reason of insanity.

In interview, she told officers she had been "locking herself away" due to Covid.

She believed she had fallen asleep on 26 June and was brought back from heaven when police arrived.

She told police: "I saw myself among the dead in heaven. I was saying: 'I don't want to die'.

"Then I saw the angels of God and they brought me back to life."

pursueing the verdicts, Taiwo's father released a statement in which he called his son an "amazing boy".

"The first time I saw Taiwo, he gave me such joy, I was fulfilled," he said.

"I wish Taiwo was still with us, but I want to remember him as the happy, talkative boy that he was."

(editor-in-charge:Press center8)

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