Indian woman accused of killing her babies acquitted in Britain
Trupti Patel was freed of all charges as the jury was unanimous in 'not guilty' verdict, reports Vijay Dutt.india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:21 IST
Trupti Patel, 35, accused of smothering her three babies to death was freed of all charges when the jury at the Reading Crown court returned an unanimous verdict of not guilty.
The trial that lasted six weeks and a half ended when the jury took just flat 90 minutes to decide that she was not responsible for the deaths of her three children, Amar who died aged 13 weeks, Jamie when he was 15 days old and Mia just 22 days old.
Trupti gasped first, then sobbed when the foreman of the jury told the judge they found her not guilty of charges of murdering any of her three babies. She went up to the visitors gllery and hugged her husband Jayant, tears streaming down their cheeks. Later she came out of the court holding the hand of her husband.
A smiling and obviously relieved and happy Trupti told the waiting media persons that the case should not have been brought at all. But it was also apparent that it would take a long time for both of them to get over the trauma of a trial in which Trupti had to listen to witnesses supporting the charge that she killed her own infant babies, all less than three months old.
The summary dismissal of the case is an embarrassment for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police that investigated circumstances of the deaths of the babies before filing charges against Trupti, a qualified pharmacist. But a CPS official maintained that they had to clear all suspicions.
The case attracted attention nationwide and the Crown Prosecution Service produced several experts to support the police charge that she had smothered her three babies. But then a specialist of sudden infant deaths, dr Peter Fleming testified that the deaths of Trupti's babies could have been due to metabolic disorder.
Trupti's grandmother also flew from a remote Gujarat village to testify in the court that she had also lost five of her children whose deaths could not be explained by doctors. It was also revealed that on Jayant's side, too, there were two unexplained deaths of babies.
But the most clinching evidence was of Dr Rupert Risdon, a noted paediatric pathologist. He had earlier told the police that the broken ribs that caused the death of Mia were not due to cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). But then in the court he said he was no longer sure of his earlier view. He said since then he had come across cases where rib fractures had occurred due to CPR.
Trupti has already said that she and her husband have decided not to try for any more babies. They have an eight-year-old girl, whom Trupti described as very pretty and loving.
First Published: Dec 25, 2003 21:33 IST