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Woman walks free Empty Woman walks free

Post by Lou on Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:28 pm

A woman suspected of inflicting 'appalling and horrific' injuries on a baby boy escaped a jail term today after a legal loophole meant serious charges had to be dropped.

The 10-week-old boy, whose identity is protected by law and is known only as Child A, was in the care of Chantelle Raschid, 20, and her partner, asylum seeker Nicholas Muhanza, 22, when he suffered catastrophic injuries leaving him permanently brain damaged and blind.

Child A, who 'cried until he had no more tears' was taken to hospital semi-conscious, but when examined by doctors they discovered he had multiple fractures to his skull, both collarbones, five ribs were broken as were the bones of both upper and lower arms and legs.

Such injuries are normally only seen in car accident victims or people who had fallen from the upper storeys of a building, Manchester Crown Court was told.

They were also consistent with the child being swung or flung against a hard surface.

And the court heard 'the reality' was the injuries must have been inflicted to the child while being cared for either Raschid or Muhanza.

But because it could not be proved that either, acting alone or together harmed the child directly, charges had to be dropped against them for inflicting the injuries.

Doctors could not say who was looking after the child at the time the injuries were inflicted - though both cared for Boy A and some of the injuries were weeks old, the court was told.

Instead Raschid, from Openshaw, Manchester, was convicted of lesser charges after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a single assault of picking up the child by its arm and a single count of neglect.

Today she walked free from court after being given an eight month jail sentence, suspended for two years. A formal not guilty verdict was entered on the charge that she harmed the child.

Muhanza, 22, was cleared of neglect following a two week trial in April.

Passing sentence Judge David Hernandez told Raschid: 'I have to sentence you not for causing or being involved in causing these injuries but for essentially failing to seek timely medical attention for him and also for grabbing his arm.

'There were no admissions from you that either you or Nicholas Muhanza caused or witnessed these injuries.

'There was, therefore, no evidence either of you caused the injuries, or were present at the time, that led to the prosecution being compelled to offer no evidence on allegations that you or Nicholas Muhanza caused the more serious injuries.

'They must have been inflicted while being cared for by either or both of you, but because of the imprecision of the timing of the injuries one could not say who was looking after him at the particular time.'

Neil Fryman, prosecuting, told the court: 'The reality was that these injuries must have occurred while they were the carers.

'Because there was no suggestion of a joint enterprise between the defendants the allegation against them of causing the injuries had to be dropped.'

The child would not stop crying and, after she 'sat around watching films to the early hours' Raschid took him to Manchester Royal Infirmary in the early hours of July 3, 2007, where he spent a week on a life support machine.

The child was 'unresponsive', struggling to breath and had a lump on his head.

Doctors found the skull was fractured in several places, including above both ears and bleeding had led to the death of some brain tissue.

They also discovered his ribs were broken along with every limb in his body.

Raschid lied to doctors and police, saying he had fallen out of his cot and that another child had harmed him with a toy hammer.

The defendant, who for the first time during court proceedings showed emotion by weeping, had failed the child, Brian Williams, defending, told the judge.

'These are not crocodile tears,' he said.

Describing the injuries as 'horrific and appalling' he added: 'This defendant is not to be sentenced for causing the injuries, she has been found not guilty of that, even though there may be people who could look at the evidence in a particular way, the simple fact of the matter is that she has been found not guilty.'

He said Raschid had low intelligence, was immature and could not cope with caring for the child.

Child A, now aged two, will have to be cared for for the rest of his life due to his permanent brain damage and blindness.

A serious case review involving a number of agencies has now been set up to investigate the matter and are expected to report back this autumn.

Raschid left court without comment.

Detective Inspector Mark Hussey, from Greater Manchester Police, said: 'This is an awful case where a child has been left with catastrophic and long-term injuries.

'He has suffered to such a degree that his life expectancy has been dramatically reduced and the quality of that life is severely affected.

'A small comfort that we can take is that this baby boy is now in an environment where he is being looked after well and given the love and support he so desperately needs.'


Something needs to be done to stop this happening again. That poor child has had no justice at all No

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Post by HiJo on Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:13 pm

Where's a hit man when you need one? Absolutely appalling - but not surprising at all. Even if one of them had been found guilty, they'd be out of jail in less than two years.
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Post by lulu on Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:47 pm

There seems to be a story similar to this in the news most days now. I really hope people don't become de-sensitised to them. I was almost in tears at work this morning when I picked up a paper and read about a little girl, (Ithink she was about 2 years old) who was kicked, punched and bitten to death by her 15 year old babysitter.
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Post by HiJo on Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:22 pm

I read that she was alone with him for only 90 minutes. All I can say is "thank God he's off the streets". Vicious little ******* !!
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Post by Lou on Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:10 pm

I never read about that one, but I saw a woman on This Morning a couple of days ago, who's child had been shaken by her boyfriend/fiancÚ, and left with all sorts of problems. It turned out he'd been in prison for 4 years for doing exactly the same thing to another child (the segment was about women having access to potential partners criminal records).

These people should be locked away for life Evil or Very Mad

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Post by lulu on Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:15 pm

Yes I saw that Lou. I think it must be very difficult to trust a new partner with your children, especially when there are so many cases of people being cruel to their own children.
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