April 2006

Mum ‘allowed’ baby to die

A 38-year-old New Malden man has been jailed for life for the murder of baby Aisha Stephens.

Jeremy Stephens will serve a minimum of 20 years after being found guilty at the Old Bailey on Tuesday last week of killing Aisha, the four-month old daughter of his 20-year-old girlfriend Sandra Mujuru.

The infant suffered a fatal blow to the head and was found dead in her cot by police at Stephens’ home in Blakes Lane, New Malden, on May 9 last year. Mujuru, a supermarket worker, was also found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child the first time this new offence has been used in a trial in the UK.

A children’s charity has welcomed a change in the law which cleared the way for the conviction of Sandra Mujuru for the death of her baby daughter, Aisha.

Sandra Mujuru, from New Malden, south-west London, was convicted in April under new domestic violence laws of allowing Ayesha to be killed.

She had been facing a 14-year jail sentence but an Old Bailey judge said it would not be in the public interest to send her to prison.

The 21-year-old received a two-year community order.

Judge Christopher Moss told Mujuru: “You were a decent young woman who was caught in a vulnerable position. You simply did not know which way to turn

The law now requires parents and carers to be accountable for a child’s death in court.

Chris Cloke, head of the NSPCC, said: “Whilst we are unable to comment on this specific case, the NSPCC welcomes the new change in the law and believes that children are now better protected and parents and carers are now more accountable for their safety.

“However there is still more work to be done to end child abuse deaths.”

The jury heard earlier how a health visitor in charge of visiting Aisha was totally unaware of previous child abuse allegations against him.

On May 9, Stephens inflicted a fatal head injury on baby Aisha before leaving her alone while he visited his ex-girlfriend’s home in Nevada Close, Kingston, where he battered her with a frying pan.

Aisha was later found dead in her cot by police at Stephens’ home in Blakes Lane, New Malden.

Stephens was also found guilty last week of grievous bodily harm against his ex-partner Susan Muthoni. It also emerged that at the time of Aisha’s death, Stephens was on bail relating to previous minor assault charges on Muthoni in September 2004.