'Clear evidence of neglect’ in home of baby death accused mother, court told

Kingfisher Way in Brent Park

Kingfisher Way in Brent Park - Credit: Google

The “chaotic and dirty” home of a woman accused of causing the death of her baby daughter indicated “clear evidence of neglect”, a court has heard.

Fartun Jamal, from Kingfisher Way in Brent Park, is accused of causing the death of 11-month-old Nafahat through neglect.

The 25-year-old has also been charged with two counts of child cruelty in relation to her daughter, and a third count in respect of another child.

Harrow Crown Court has previously heard that Nafahat died from a chest infection on March 13, 2019.

It is alleged her death could have been prevented had her mother sought adequate medical aid in the weeks leading up to her death.

Speaking today - Thursday, February 24 - at the ongoing proceedings, consultant paediatrician Dr Michael Coren described Nafahat’s death in a “sad scene” as “concerning”.

Dr Coren, who works at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, said the flat was “not a good environment for a small child”.

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The jury heard that Jamal’s home was “dirty”, with takeaway boxes and uncleaned plates, while there were nappies left everywhere and faeces on the walls.

Nafahat's cot was also broken, the court heard.

In his witness statement read to the court, Dr Coren said: “There was clear evidence of neglect in the family home of Ms Jamal.”

It added that there were “environmental signs of neglect”.

Dr Coren told the jury: “The conditions must have been quite bad, from the evidence I heard.

“It was a chaotic and dirty flat, there’s no doubt about that.”

The court previously heard a babysitter - who visited the home on March 8 - describe the living conditions as “dirty”, with plates in the sink and the smell of “old milk”.

Nafahat was ill from at least March 4, and her condition worsened before she died more than a week later, the jury has been told.

Dr Coren said reports on her health suggested she was a “normal child” who was “adequately nourished”, fully vaccinated and with “access to a GP”.

He continued: “There was no evidence of neglect for her medical needs.”

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC has previously told the court that the nearest medical centre was just across the road from the family home.

However, he said Jamal never took Nafahat to that practice.

Asked if this suggested neglect, Dr Coren said: “It is not necessarily an unreasonable thing to do and might be a common experience of the people in this room who have children.

“Keeping a child at home in the hope they get better is a reasonable thing to do.”

The witness went on: “In my opinion there is no basis in any of the (medical) reports as to how striking the symptoms had been, let alone to a mother with problems of her own in a chaotic environment.”

He added: “It’s not easy assessing acute respiratory symptoms in young children.”

This meant it could have been difficult for Jamal to know whether Nafahat needed hospital treatment, Dr Coren said.

However, when asked if it was a failing on the part of Jamal if she knew her daughter required medical attention, Dr Coren agreed it would be.

Last week the court heard that Jamal had made a series of internet searches relating to giving up her child while caring for the 11-month-old at home.

Searches included phrases such as “I want to give up my child” and “I can’t cope with my child anymore”, Edward Brown QC told jurors at Harrow Crown Court.

The trial continues.