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Stratford bus passengers 'tried to save life of already dead baby', court hears

PUBLISHED: 18:30 14 March 2017

The court heard how bus passengers tried to help little Imani (file photo: Clive Gee/PA)

The court heard how bus passengers tried to help little Imani (file photo: Clive Gee/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Bus passengers tried to save the life of a three-month-old baby despite her mum already knowing she was dead, a court has heard.

The Old Bailey was told how Rosalin Baker, 25,also sent a text to her sister reading: “Imani is dead sis x” after getting off the bus, having “remained calmly seated” while those trying to help the tot were “gripped with a degree of panic”.

Jurors heard this afternoon how Baker boarded a 25 bus on Romford Road with her daughter Imani strapped into a sling, with the child’s face covered by a white cloth, on September 28 last year.

CCTV showed Imani’s father, 52-year-old Jeffrey Wiltshire, kissing his girlfriend and waving her off from the pavement, giving her a thumbs-up as the bus doors closed and Baker went to sit down on the lower deck.

Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, suggested Wiltshire had behaved in this way was because Baker was going to “stage the discovery of a death of which she was in fact already fully aware and to involve unsuspecting members of the public in that deception”.

At 9.56am, almost 20 minutes after boarding the bus, Baker was seen on CCTV to look at Imani for the first time and beckon over fellow passenger, Fjoralba Shmitz.

Mr Atkinson said: “Shmitz went over and saw that Imani had her eyes closed. She touched Imani’s face and found that it was ice cold.”

The woman took the baby and found she was not breathing, jurors were told.

She tried to blow into Imani’s mouth and found her lips were cold and her eye was bruised.

Believing the baby was dead, she started to panic and alerted the driver to call an ambulance as other passengers crowded around.

Another passenger, Viviana Caidedo also tried to help but immediately thought the infant was dead as she was “cold and stiff”, the court heard.

She was handed a mobile phone and took instructions on CPR from the emergency operator. When the bus stopped in Stratford, another member of the public carried on trying to resuscitate Imani before paramedics arrived.

Mr Atkinson said: “Throughout this time, as these members of the public tried to help Imani, and were gripped with a degree of panic when confronted with an apparently dead baby, that baby’s mother, Baker, remained calmly seated holding her mobile phone.”

Asked by paramedics what happened, Baker allegedly said Imani was fine before they got on the bus.

But Mr Atkinson said the condition of her cold stiff body suggested she had been dead for some time.

In a prepared statement, Baker told police she was in a “total state of shock over the death of my baby”.

She said Imani did have a fall a few days before but she was “perfectly fine”.

When he was arrested, Wiltshire initially denied being Imani’s father. He later admitted she was his child and explained that social workers would not approve of contact as he had mental health problems and smoked heroin and marijuana.

Wiltshire told police he had 23 children and was proud to have fathered a child at the age of 52.

Baker and Wiltshire, both of Morris Avenue, Manor Park, deny murder and causing or allowing the death of their daughter.

The trial continues.

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