May 2017

Couple who staged death of baby daughter on bus jailed for 11 years

A couple who staged a “cynical charade” on a bus to cover up their baby’s torture and death at home have each been jailed for 11 years.

Jeffrey Wiltshire and Rosalin Baker concocted a plan to get away with the abuse of 16-week-old Imani that culminated in her death in September last year.

Baker, 25, blamed her abusive and controlling boyfriend and claimed he had tried to frame her by forcing her to get on the London bus with their dead child in a sling. But Wiltshire, 52, a former rapper who claimed to have fathered 25 children, said: “I’m not a life taker, I’m a baby maker.”

The couple, both drug users, were cleared of murder but convicted at the Old Bailey last month of causing or allowing the death of their daughter, who was on the child protection register.

Sentencing the pair, of Newham, east London, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said Imani had been born prematurely and that her last days must have been “terrifying, painful and bewildering”. He told her parents: “Both of you at all times put your interests before those of a helpless and dependent baby for whom you were responsible.”

Hilliard said they had told so many lies about what happened that their credibility was “always in doubt”. Imani’s fatal head injuries were likened to those from a car crash or a fall from a first-floor window, he said.

Even though the jury could not be sure who was responsible, Hilliard said that given the extent of the child’s injuries, he had concluded that whoever had done it intended really serious bodily harm.

Describing the cover-up on the bus as a “cynical charade”, he said: “You used the dead body of your daughter as part of an attempt to conceal what really happened.”

In the week before Imani’s death, Baker had moved from her mother’s house in Colchester, Essex, into Wiltshire’s bedsit in Newham. During that time, Imani was attacked three times and suffered 40 rib fractures, a broken wrist and terrible head injuries, jurors were told.

Wiltshire and Baker, who lived on benefits, attempted to hide what had happened by making it appear that their daughter had suddenly been taken ill on the No 25 bus, jurors were told.

On the morning of 28 September, Wiltshire was caught on CCTV kissing Baker and giving her a thumbs up as she boarded the bus to Stratford, east London, with Imani’s body strapped to her chest. During the journey, she raised the alarm and passengers desperately tried to save Imani by giving her CPR and calling an ambulance.

Giving evidence, Baker blamed Wiltshire, who she described as a violent man who would get high on heroin and cocaine every day. But Wiltshire denied hurting his “tiny and beautiful” daughter either intentionally or unintentionally, or witnessing anyone else injuring her.

The former rapper, who sometimes went by the name Pepper Head, said he had been out the night before Imani’s death and came back in the early hours to find Baker in a grumpy mood and the baby off her milk.

In the morning, he returned from using a cashpoint to find Baker packing her bags to go back to Colchester with the baby, Wiltshire told the jury. Imani, who was already in the sling, made no noise and her face was covered by a cloth, he said.

He told jurors he would always kiss Baker goodbye and gave her a thumbs up that day as if to tell her to stay safe.

The maximum sentence for causing or allowing the death of a child is 14 years

April 2017

London couple guilty of allowing the death of daughter

A couple are facing years in jail after they tried to cover up their baby’s torture and death at home by staging the discovery of her body on a bus.

Drug addicts Jeffrey Wiltshire, 52, and Rosalin Baker, 25, concocted a “devious” plan to get away with the horrific abuse of 16-week-old Imani before her death in September last year.

During their Old Bailey trial, Baker blamed her abusive and controlling boyfriend and claimed he had tried to “frame” her by forcing her on to the bus with their dead child in a sling.

But former rapper Wiltshire, who claimed to have fathered 25 children, insisted: “I’m not a life taker, I’m a baby maker.”

The jury deliberated for 14-and-a-half hours before clearing them of murder but finding them guilty of causing or allowing the death of their daughter, who was on the child protection register.

Adjourning sentencing until May 18, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: “Imani’s life must have been painful, distressing and bewildering, and the failure at the very least to protect her is a serious matter indeed that must result in a custodial sentence.”

In the week of her death, Imani was attacked three times and suffered 40 rib fractures, a broken wrist and terrible head injuries, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said Imani was in “very significant pain and distress”, which would have been obvious to any parent.

Wiltshire and Baker, who lived on benefits, attempted to hide what happened at home by making it appear she had suddenly been taken ill on the number 25 bus, jurors were told.

On the morning of September 28 last year, Wiltshire was caught on CCTV kissing Baker, and giving her a thumbs up as she boarded the bus to Stratford, east London, with Imani’s body strapped to her chest.

During the journey, Baker raised the alarm and passengers desperately tried to save Imani by giving her CPR and calling an ambulance.

Mr Atkinson told jurors: “Those members of the public, presented with the nightmare of an infant who was not breathing, did all they could to help

“They were panicking and distressed. In contrast, Baker was noted to be cold and calm.”

In the week before Imani’s death, Baker had moved from her mother’s house in Colchester, Essex, into Wiltshire’s bedsit in Newham, east London, where the whole family shared the same bed.

Following Imani’s death, Wiltshire initially denied Imani was his while Baker told police she was in a “total state of shock”.

Giving evidence, Baker blamed her boyfriend, who she described as a violent man who would get high on heroin and cocaine “every day”.

But Wiltshire denied hurting his “tiny and beautiful” daughter either intentionally or unintentionally, or witnessing anyone else injure her.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Holmes, of Scotland Yard, said: “The loss of any child is tragic but to know that baby Imani was tortured and was probably in considerable pain in her last few hours is heart-rending.

“Baker and Wiltshire orchestrated the most devious of plans in an attempt to cover up the abuse that had been inflicted upon their daughter.

“Their ruse quickly unravelled when medical professionals were able to determine that Imani had probably died up to 24 hours previously and with this overwhelming and compelling evidence charges against the two were swiftly brought.

The maximum sentence for causing or allowing the death of a child is 14 years.

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