Mothers are considered to be next to God, but then every human comes with certain flaws irrespective of their gender. A shocking case of child murder by mother was concluded by Bengaluru Rural principal sessions court last week.
Considering own daughter to be an obstacle for her second marriage, a 26-year-old woman in Bengaluru had murdered her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter in 2017. The woman has now been sentenced to life imprisonment by the court.
The accused woman, identified as Shraddha, is a resident of Kodigehalli Colony near Yeshwantpur. She had been arrested by Tavarekere police for murdering her daughter Anjana in October 2017. Back then, due to lack of evidence, Judge Venkatesh Naik T had dropped the charges of criminal conspiracy against the woman and her paramour Sharath Kumar. Thereafter, co-accused Kumar died during the trial, which resulted in dropping charges against him.
The prosecution argued how the woman had banged her daughter’s head against the wall multiple times. However, the girl somehow miraculously survived the assault. It is then that the mother later smothered her to death.
Shraddha had separated from her first husband Naveen, a cab driver. Thereafter, she met her school classmate Sharath Kumar, also a driver, in 2016. Post her meeting with Kumar, she fell in love with him and decided to marry him, as informed by Magadi police inspector VS Shabaresh.
The couple believed that Anjana was an obstacle in their relationship and decided to eliminate her from their lives. The plan was executed by Shraddha on October 11, 2017, however, she later projected it as an accidental death. The mother even managed to bury her daughter after informing her parents, husband and in-laws that she accidentally fell from the cot and died before reaching the hospital.
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However, it was the accused’s mother who suspected Shraddha and immediately informed police. The investigating team dug out the body of the child on October 16, 2017, and conducted a postmortem, which confirmed that it was a case of murder.
The autopsy report which reached police on October 19, affirmed that it was not an accident but a clear cut murder. It read,
Death was due to injuries sustained.
As informed by public prosecutor SV Bhat, the accused woman brutally murdered her only child. She continuously banged Anjana’s head against the wall. Reacting to the brutality, the girl fell down, and Shraddha then shoved a pillow onto her face. Thereafter, she pressed her knee on the child’s chest and sat on her abdomen till the girl breathed last.
The injuries sustained by the victim were serious as revealed by Dr Nissan Ahmed, professor, department of forensic medicine, Rajarajeshwari Medical College, who conducted the postmortem. According to him, he found blood extravasation (leakage) in the frontal right side of the girl’s body.
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The assault did not stop here, since at least eight of her ribs were fractured. All the injuries were ante-mortem in nature and were the cause of death.
Elaborating on the injuries, Dr Ahmed said,
The IO sought to know the effect of the child having fallen from the 18-inch high cot. Injuries mentioned in the postmortem report could not have been caused by such a fall or resulted in death.
The victim not only had rib fractures but also had suffered external injuries on the lip, internal injuries on the scalp, brain haemorrhage, spleen laceration and internal haemorrhage, which were followed by death due to shock, as briefed by Dr Ahmed.
The injuries could be caused by holding the child’s head tightly and dashing it against a hard surface, closing the lips and mouth with force and pressing with knees and elbow, the chest and front of the abdomen.
The accused on other hand claimed her daughter died from falling off the terrace. However, the evidence proved her statement to be false as her house had a sheet roof. The court in its observation questioned,
Why was she silent about it if the child had fallen from the terrace? She also failed to explain why and how her child climbed the terrace as there were no stairs. Her ‘two-line’ false explanation cannot be considered cogent.
The defence counsel while shielding the accused mentioned that if a child falls from a height of about 10 feet on a rough surface, then the internal injuries which were referred in the autopsy could be caused. The ribs were fractured as the body was put into a 6-ft pit filled with mud.
The court however did not consider the contention and sentenced the mother to life imprisonment.
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