Parents who staged lifeless baby's death on London bus facing jail

A couple are facing jail over the death of their premature baby who was found lifeless on a bus.

Drug addicts Jeffrey Wiltshire, 52, and Rosalin Baker, 25, were on trial at the Old Bailey for murdering 16-week-old Imani in September last year.

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.

Jeffrey Wiltshire and Rosalin Baker

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.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard adjourned sentencing until May 28.

Rosalin Baker boarded a bus in Stratford, East London, carrying her dead baby (Rex)

He 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.

Her wounds were caused by twisting or pulling her arm, squeezing her chest and throwing her against a hard surface, the court heard.

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 concocting a plan to make 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”.

She claimed Wiltshire had told her “it’s all your fault, I told you to give her up for adoption” after she found Imani dead at the bottom of their bed.

Baker said: “The first thing I thought was he’s done something to her. When I looked at her she looked really bad. I thought she was dead.”

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

He also denied being abusive towards Baker, controlling the purse strings or insisting she send him affectionate messages.

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 told jurors he returned from using a cashpoint to find Baker already packing her bags to go back to Colchester with the baby.

Imani, who was already in the sling, made no noise and her face was covered by a cloth, he said.

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

When Baker phoned him later that morning from the back of the ambulance, she told him that “Imani is not very well”, the defendant said.

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