Jailed: Father who murdered 13-week-old baby boy

Sean Morrison
Jailed: Mohammed Miah and Rebeka Nazmin sentenced over the death of their baby son: Metropolitan Police

A father has been jailed for murdering his deformed baby after a jury rejected the parents' attempt to blame a young autistic child.

Over 13 weeks of his short life, Rifat Mohammed was subjected to "systematic" abuse while in the care of his parents, leading to fatal brain injuries in July last year.

The prosecution argued that Rebeka Nazmin and “grossly overweight” and bedridden Mohammed Miah had tried to deflect suspicion on to another child in the house, who had behavioural problems in the past.

A jury at the Old Bailey took 10 hours to find Miah, 37, of Poplar, east London, guilty of murder and causing suffering to Rifat by a majority of 11 to one.

Nazmin, 32, was cleared of murder but found guilty of allowing the death of her baby and causing him suffering.

Father-of-five Miah was cleared of cruelty to two other children, who told how they were whipped with a mobile phone charger cable.

Mr Justice Spencer jailed Miah for at least 18 years.

The judge said only 24-stone Miah could know why he abused his son - whether it was an "angry response" to being laid up all day with a bad back or "deliberate cruelty".

Nazmin, who was said to be in the "thrall" of her husband, waiting on him "hand and foot", was jailed for six years.

The judge told her: "But for your failure to protect Rifat from his father he might well still be alive."

The court heard how Nazmin called 999 for an ambulance to come to the family home in St Leonard's Road on the morning of July 4 last year.

Rifat was found apparently lifeless on the floor near where his "significantly overweight" father was lying on the bed.

He was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he died from brain injuries the following day.

The infant, who wore a baby grow with the words "I love my mummy", had been either severely shaken or hit against a hard surface.

An examination of his body revealed 38 rib fractures, eight fractures to his legs and a broken spine from being squeezed and pulled.

The baby was also hit with the cord of a mobile phone charger and burned on a radiator, the trial heard.

The court was told another child in the house, who is on the autistic spectrum, had behavioural problems in the past.

But since receiving specialist help in class, he had turned into a "charming" and "delightful" child before Rifat's death.

Miah claimed the same child had held Rifat "at arm's length and had brought him back and forth", the court heard.

And the child told how Nazmin had instructed him to shake Rifat and flick water on his face in an apparent attempt to throw suspicion away from her husband.

Following Rifat's death, Nazmin also said her husband had a problem with their baby's deformed hand and ear, saying he might have abused him because of it.

She was heard to say: "He killed my baby. Tell his dad he has died, that's what he wants."

In mitigation, Louise Sweet QC said Miah had suffered a double bereavement as shortly after his father died of bowel cancer, his brother had also succumbed to the disease.