Essex

Salini Kukkunoor Padmanabha trial: Mother accused of baby murder

Inner London Crown Court
Image caption Salini Kukkunoor Padmanabha denies murder and child cruelty

A woman has been accused of killing her seven-month-old daughter who had injuries consistent with blunt force and "violent shaking", a court heard.

Salini Kukkunoor Padmanabha, 33, is accused of murdering Shagun, who died on 15 August 2017.

Inner London Crown Court heard a post-mortem examination found fractures to her skull, leg and ribs as well as brain injuries.

Mrs Padmanabha, from the Epping area of Essex, also denies child cruelty.

The court heard Mrs Padmanabha and her husband had conceived via IVF after being married for about eight years.

But Shagun was born prematurely and with several medical problems which required operations and a four-month hospital stay.

Tracy Ayling, prosecuting, said Mrs Padmanabha was the only person who could have caused the injuries - which dated between a few weeks and up to a few hours before the baby's death.

When interviewed by police, Ms Ayling told the court, Mrs Padmanabha had said Shagun had not suffered a fall or any other traumatic event which could have caused the injuries.

She added experts said the child's injuries were consistent with shaking and impact with a blunt object or surface.

"The rib fractures were consistent with compression of the thorax cage; squeezing of the rib cage," Ms Ayling said. "Rib fractures in children are very rarely the result of accidental trauma due to the flexibility of children's ribs.

"Those fractures required excessive forces."

Shagun's father, Chandra Prasad Kanehitluanda, told the court he had been worried about the way his wife sometimes treated their daughter.

He said she was seen pinching their daughter's face and smacking her bottom, behaviour described as acceptable by Mrs Padmanabha's defence counsel Caroline Carberry.

"It was the way she did it, out of frustration which concerned me," Mr Kanehitluanda said.

Both parents were arrested, Ms Ayling said, but due to her father having been away from the household at the time of the death the crown says Mrs Padmanabha caused the fatal injuries.

The trial continues.

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