'GP said she looked fine’: Mother accused of causing daughter's death denies neglect

Harrow Crown Court, London

Harrow Crown Court, London - Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

A mother accused of causing the death of her daughter through neglect has said she was told by a GP the child “looked fine” weeks before her death.

Fartun Jamal, from Kingfisher Way in Brent Park, is accused of causing the death of 11-month-old Nafahat through neglect, and of cruelty towards the baby and another child.

Harrow Crown Court had previously heard that Nafahat died from a chest infection on March 13 2019, and that her death could have been prevented had her mother sought adequate medical aid in the weeks leading up to her death.

Speaking today - Friday, February 25 - at the ongoing trial, Jamal said she had expressed concerns about Nafahat to a GP on February 26, 2019.

The 25-year-old told the jury: “I had told the doctor I was worried about Nafahat, that she had a very high temperature, a poor appetite and that I believed she may have a cold.

“But the doctor told me, 'She looks fine and if it gets worse give her some Calpol', and that was it.”

Jamal told the court she was “quite sure” this is what had been said by the GP.

Nafahat was ill from at least March 4, and her condition worsened before she died more than a week later, the court had previously heard.

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The jury also heard about Jamal’s living conditions in the lead-up to Nafahat’s death, which had been described as “disgusting”.

Babysitter Aimee Whittaker-George visited the home on February 13; unhappy with the conditions Nafahat was living in, she contacted social services after she left.

Jamal told the court the conditions and bad smell were due to ceiling leaks and damp in the walls which “ruined” her belongings.

Asked about the allegations of Ms Whittaker-George, she said: “I was conscious there was a smell of damp or mould but I don’t know if that was because I was used to it by then.”

“I accept that it (the flat) was messy, there were dishes that needed to be washed because I had my dinner but it wasn’t in the way she describes," she added.

Jurors were also previously told about claims that Jamal made a series of internet searches relating to giving up her child, which included 'I want to give up my child' and 'I can’t cope with my child anymore'.

Asked about her feelings towards her daughter, the 25-year-old said: “I instantly fell in love with her the moment I got hold of her.

“She was a beautiful child. She was so calm.”

Explaining to the jury that she had been “depressed” and “anxious” due to the pressures of raising Nafahat with little support, Jamal admitted she “needed a break” from parenting.

“I just felt I needed someone there for support. I felt useless because of the life I had growing up. I didn’t want the same (for her)," she said.

“I wanted to be a better parent but I didn’t know what to do.”

Speaking yesterday  - Thursday, February 24 - Jamal told jurors of her difficult upbringing, starting with when she moved to the UK from Somalia at a young age without her biological mother.

While living with her aunt, who she referred to as “Mum”, Jamal described being bullied at school and verbally abused at home, spending time in foster care.

She said she moved back to war-torn Somalia at 15, when she began living with her biological mother and grandmother.

She told the jury: “My aunt badmouthed me so I had my phone taken away, I was beaten and locked up to a tree in chains.”

The court was told that, at the age of 17, Jamal “fell in love” and secretly got married in Somalia.

She then fell pregnant, telling jurors she had a stillbirth due to being beaten after her mother and grandmother found out.

Jamal became pregnant with Nafahat a few years later while back in the UK, after which she moved into a flat in Brent Park.

The trial continues.