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Mother 'staged death of baby on bus to cover up killing'

A young mother calmly staged the death of her baby on a bus to cover up the horrific murder of the child at home, a court has heard.

Rosalin Baker, 25, was given the "thumbs-up" by her 52-year-old boyfriend, Jeffrey Wiltshire, as she boarded the number 25 in east London, with their 16-week-old daughter, Imani, in a sling, jurors were told.

As passengers travelled to work on the morning of September 28 last year, Baker acted out a "nightmare" charade and appealed for help, saying her baby had just fallen ill, the Old Bailey heard.

Members of the public desperately tried to carry out CPR on the little girl, but found she was already "ice cold" to the touch.

Jurors were told that Imani was already dead after being subjected to at least three severe attacks which left her with 40 fractures to her ribs, a fractured wrist and terrible head injuries.

Baker had been receiving "intervention" from medical professionals and social services since the birth up until the last week of the baby's life, jurors were told.

Imani was born prematurely at 28 weeks and five days on June 2 last year at Newham General Hospital.

While in a high dependency unit, medical staff and social services became concerned Baker had not bonded with her daughter and on August 15 last year, Imani was place on the Child Protection Register.

In the week before Imani's death, Baker had taken the infant to live with Wiltshire in his bedsit in Newham, east London, after leaving her mother's home in Colchester, Essex, the court was told.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said the injuries inflicted in those days would have caused the baby "very significant pain and distress" which would have been obvious to any parent.

They were allegedly caused by twisting or pulling her arm, squeezing her chest and throwing her against a hard surface.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of Baker boarding the bus at 9.28am on September 28 last year with Imani in a sling with her face covered by a white cloth.

Wiltshire, who claimed to have 23 children, kissed his girlfriend and waved her off from the pavement, giving her a thumbs-up as the bus doors closed.

Mr Atkinson told jurors: "During the course of the bus journey, Baker suddenly sought help from her fellow passengers for a problem that she said she had just identified with her daughter.

"Those members of the public, presented with the nightmare of an infant who was not breathing, did all they could to help.

"They were panicking and distressed. In contrast, Baker was noted to be cold and calm."

At 9.56am, Baker was seen to look at Imani for the first time and beckon over fellow passenger Fjoralba Shmitz, who found the baby was "ice cold" to the touch.

Seeing that Imani was not breathing, Ms Shmitz tried to blow into her mouth and discovered her lips were cold and her eye was bruised.

Believing the baby was dead, she alerted the driver to call an ambulance as more passengers crowded around.

Others tried to perform CPR on the tiny body but Baker allegedly sat calmly in her seat. She later texted her sister: "Imani is dead sis x."

The court heard Imani was pronounced dead in hospital and her parents went on to give a false account of what happened to police, even denying that Wiltshire was the father.

Following her arrest, 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".

On arrest, Wiltshire initially denied being Imani's father. He later admitted she was his child and explained 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.

The couple deny murder and causing or allowing the death of their child, and the trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

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