Level of violence inflicted on three-month-old baby by Manor Park couple Jeffrey Wiltshire and Rosalin Baker ‘something never come across before’, detective says
PUBLISHED: 15:51 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:10 20 April 2017
A detective investigating the death of a three-month-old baby has said that “justice has been obtained” after her parents were found guilty of causing or allowing her death.
Rosalin Baker, 25, and Jeffrey Wiltshire, 52, were today acquitted of murdering little Imani following a trial at the Old Bailey, with Newham Council currently carrying out a serious case review into the little girl’s death.
The tot had suffered at least 40 separate injuries, including several fractures to her ribs, head and wrist before her death on September 28 last year.
Det Chief Insp Gary Holmes, of the homicide and major crime command, said: “To know that baby Imani was tortured and was probably in considerable pain in her last few hours is heart-rending.
“The level of violence and cruelty inflicted on such a young child is something that I have never come across during the course of my career and I hope never to witness anything like this again.
“Imani was a premature baby and from the very moment she was born the odds were stacked against her. Despite a challenging start to life she fought to survive but sadly her fight was short lived as she suffered at the hands of the very people who were supposed to love, nurture and protect her.”
The jury heard that Imani, who was on the child protection register, had been born prematurely at just 28 weeks in June 2016 and had been kept at Newham University Hospital for 65 days.
During that time, Baker had only visited her daughter, who was in an incubator and on a ventilator, just 22 times. Wiltshire did not visit once.
Detectives believe that the abuse started soon after she was discharged at the start of August.
Det Chief Insp Holmes continued: “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.”
On the morning of September 28, Baker was caught on CCTV topping up her Oyster card in a convenience store in Church Road, Manor Park, close to the couple’s Morris Avenue bedsit.
The court heard how she then boarded a 25 bus towards Bow Church, using her phone and not paying Imani any attention for around 20 minutes.
She raised the alarm by beckoning a fellow passenger, Fjoralba Shmitz, over, telling her that Imani had stopped breathing.
The bus driver, Jerry Ballington, was then notified and stopped the bus in High Street, Stratford, close to the junction with Carpenters Road.
Other passengers also tried to help until the London Ambulance Service arrived.
“The events of that day will have a lasting and devastating impact on the many passengers on board the bus,” Det Chief Insp Holmes said.
“Many of those who stepped in to provide medical assistance were left completely distressed when they realised their efforts to save Imani were futile, not knowing that the entire incident had been staged.
“Baker misled these good Samaritans and gave no thought to anyone but herself as she callously remained on her mobile phone throughout.”
A Newham Council spokeswoman said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of this baby girl in what can only be described as a terrible tragedy.
“A serious case review is currently underway, which involves a number of different organisations, and we anticipate it to be completed shortly.”
An spokeswoman for the NSPCC said: “We hope the serious case review will provide much-needed answers about the circumstances surrounding the death of baby Imani.
“This is a deeply disturbing case. As her parents they should have kept their daughter safe from harm but instead they either caused or allowed her death which they then tried to conceal.
“It is entirely right that both Baker and Wiltshire have been brought to justice for this despicable crime.”
Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 while young people can call Childline on 0800 1111.