November 23, 2017

The mother accused of killing her 14-month old daughter told police a priest said her baby was possessed.

UPDATE 23 November: Sofina Nikat has today walked free from court. The mother who admitted suffocating her 15-month-old daughter before throwing her body into a suburban Melbourne creek will be released from custody.

The 24 year old was sentenced to a 12-month community correction order after earlier pleading guilty to infanticide over the April 2016 death of her daughter Sanaya Sahib.

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“In the unusual circumstances you have already served 529 days of pre-sentence custody,” Victorian Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said.

Justice Lex Lasry told the Victorian Supreme Court that Nikat’s chances of rehabilitation were good, and a community corrections order was appropriate as she had already spent 529 days in prison, reports ABC news.

Zahraa Sahib, Sanaya’s aunt, said the family had “fallen apart” since the little girl’s death.

“We had no justice for her death,” she said outside court.





“We were expecting something and it just completely failed us, and I don’t think it’s very fair that we’ve lost our little girl and there’s nothing for her.

“It’s really disappointing, upsetting for our family.”

Previously in March we shared…

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A psychiatric report found Sofina Nikat had a ‘disturbed mind’.

Sofina stood trial for allegedly killing her daughter Sanaya Sahib on April 10, 2016 after pleading not guilty to one charge of murder in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, reports Daily Mail.

The 23-year-old had initially said her daughter had been snatched from her pram by an African man who smelled heavily of alcohol but later told Victoria Police she had made up the story ‘because she was scared’, court documents show.

‘Things got way out of hand on that day, and she couldn’t cope,’ a summary of her police interview said.

Ms Nikat told police she put her hand across Sanaya’s mouth and nose and hugged her tight until she couldn’t feel her daughter moving.

She then allegedly walked down to the creek bed and dropped her daughter’s limp body in Darebin Creek near scrubland.

In the days before the incident, Sanaya had suffered a seizure and had been frothing at the mouth.

Ms Nikat also told police her baby would ‘look at the roof and cry and growl’, and she had been advised by a priest that she and her baby were possessed and had negative energy.

She told police she had ‘no other choice as things were getting worse’ and she couldn’t cope.

Murder or Infanticide?

Her defence lawyer Christopher Dane QC told the court in March that two psychiatric assessments by different psychiatrists had come to the conclusion what Ms Nikat did was not murder but infanticide.

A report from consultant psychiatrist Yvonne Skinner found Ms Nikat was not of sound mind during the time her baby died, Mr Dane said, because she had ‘not fully recovered from giving birth’.

‘The balance of mind of Sofina Nikat was disturbed,’ Dr Skinner wrote in the report, Mr Dane said.

‘She is guilty of infanticide and not murder.’

He told the court if Ms Nikat had been charged with infanticide, she would have likely pleaded guilty.

The prosecution argued that there was sufficient evidence to determine the crime was murder, and pointed to the psychiatric reports that described Ms Nikat suffering from a depressive disorder.

Magistrate Luisa Bazzani upheld the murder charge, citing that the psychiatrist’s evidence had not been tested.

The legislation on Infanticide

Section 6 of the Crimes Act 1958 is the relevant legislative provision for Infanticide. It states:

(1) If a woman carries out conduct that causes the death of her child in circumstances that would constitute murder and, at the time of carrying out the conduct, the balance of her mind was disturbed because of-

(a) her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to that child within the preceding 2 years; or
(b) a disorder consequent on her giving birth to that child within the preceding 2 years-

she is guilty of infanticide, and not of murder, and liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).

(2) On an indictment for murder, a woman found not guilty of murder may be found guilty of infanticide.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention or post natal depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Share your comments below.


  • What sort of a priest would be so stupid to say that to any person? He should be held accountable for the false information he gave. The baby should have been taken to a Dr. or hospital for treatment if she was having seizures. THe only way the Mum will get the help she so desperately needs it to go to a Mental Health Facility where she can get the help she needs. Often prisoners are not given enough counselling or treatment, sometimes not even the right type. She needs to go to a facility where they don’t just give them medication and leave them to their own devices.

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  • She belongs in a mental institution.

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  • I can’t believe she walked free but I don’t think she will ever recover from what she has done. I also don’t think her family is going to forgive her. Such a tragedy and I believe her priest has something to answer for.

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  • I am shocked that she walked free. I do though, also hope she finds the help she needs because, I think, for a mother to kill her child there MUST be some sort of psychological issues. I hope this whole family find peace.

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  • I feel for this family so much, they have lost that darling baby & now have to cope with the knowledge that justice didn’t really prevail. :(

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  • This woman should not be allowed to walk free, what if she another baby? Someone that is not right in their mind should be in an institution. She killed her baby where’s the justice? The legal system in Australia is becoming joke!

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  • The effect of the words of a priest as a higher authority can be devastating ! Imagine all the cases of exorcism in the past and how this must have destroyed people !
    I don’t know about this case, but a person out of balance is indeed capable of dangerous things.

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  • I just can’t get my head around this. She looks happy and normal in the photo, why did no one in the family recognise she was suffering depression, why did they not seek help? So many questions left unanswered here, and yes including how can a priest say what he said if he did say this or maybe that was made up too? She might have been better put in an institution so she could access help. Very sad.

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  • That a priest says such things is quite concerning indeed.

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  • Firstly, the priest should be getting charged- it was his advice that lead to all of this. Secondly, if her mind is disturbed enough to lead her to kill her child why is she being allowed to walk the streets? No, I don’t think she should be in normal prison, but she should be in a special institution designed for people like her.

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  • The priest should be up on charges. How bloody stupid of him to say those things. The responsible thing would have been to drive her straight to the doctor. He’s just as guilty as her!

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  • What about the bloody priest? He gets off scott free.

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  • I read this earlier and was quite shocked. I understand she may have been suffering, and has spent an amount of time in jail, but I was surprised at how soon she was let out. Her daughter will never be free.

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  • Of disturbed mind or not, taking a life is murder ….

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  • Really? 12-months community correction and the time spent in prison since the death of the little girl? And that’s it? It doesn’t look like a fair sentence to me. :-(

    Reply

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