A MAN who lost his temper and violently shook Coventry toddler Khaleel Hussain causing fatal brain injuries has been convicted of his murder – and the youngster’s mother has also been found guilty.
Keith Brown (23) of Swan Lane, Stoke, Coventry, had denied murdering the two-year-old in October 2013.
But after 10 hours and 12 minutes at the end of a six-week trial at Warwick Crown Court the jury found him guilty by a unanimous verdict.
Khaleel’s mother Samina Kauser (25) of Richmond Street, Stoke, Coventry, was found guilty of allowing the death of a child by failing to take steps she could reasonably have been expected to take to protect him.
And, opposing the renewal of her bail, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC pointed out: “The offence is deemed to be comparable to an offence of manslaughter.”
Making an application for her to be granted bail, her barrister Kevin Saunders said: “The body of Khaleel has not yet been released from the coroner.
“The application is simply that Miss Kauser be given the opportunity to arrange the funeral of her son. If the court is minded to accede to that, I would also invite the court to afford her a pre-sentence report.”
But adjourning the case until Tuesday when Brown, who is facing life imprisonment, is expected to be sentenced and Kauser’s case adjourned for a report, Mr Justice Lindblom remanded them both in custody.
During the trial Mr Hankin told the jury that two-year-old Khaleel was rushed to University Hospital in Coventry after Kauser made a 999 call at lunchtime on October 21, 2013.
Because of the severity of his injury he was swiftly transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where consultant neurosurgeon Desiderio Rodrigues carried out emergency surgery.
But the injury to his brain was so severe that Khaleel had little chance of surviving – and he died the following day.
His fatal injury had been caused by Brown, most likely by shaking him forcibly and throwing him down onto a soft surface.
Kauser had left Khaleel in the house with Brown while she went to a nearby shop, despite an incident a week earlier when she had found him smothering the boy’s face with a duvet.
Following his death Khaleel was found to have suffered a serious swelling and subdural haematoma, which Mr Rodrigues said was consistent with ‘shaken baby syndrome.’
And the jury heard a post mortem examination revealed bleeding in Khaleel’s eyes and lungs prior to the incident which caused his death – and which could be caused by smothering.
That related to an incident five days earlier when Kauser had gone up to her little son’s room and found Brown smothering him with his duvet – although in court Brown denied doing so and she denied seeing it.
Despite that incident, Kauser had allowed Khaleel’s death by failing to protect from the risk of violence by Brown.
At first both defendants claimed Khaleel had fallen down the stairs, with Kauser claiming she had been in the house at the time.
Giving evidence, she said she did not believe there was any risk in leaving Khaleel with Brown, and that she had believed his story that her son had fallen down the stairs.
Brown claimed in court that the injury had been caused when he became annoyed and frustrated with Khaleel’s crying on finding his mother had gone out without him.
He said he had picked Khaleel up and began throwing him in the air almost to the ceiling and catching him to stop him crying – but then got it ‘terribly wrong’ and missed him, and Khaleel landed on his head on the floor.
Cross-examining him, Mr Hankin had put to him: “You had shaken him in a fit of anger.” And Brown answered: “Yes.”
Seeking confirmation of his reply, the barrister asked: “You did, didn’t you?” Again Brown responded: “Yes.”
When he then denied it, Mr Hankin asked him: “Were you just going to tell the jury the truth for a moment? Were you going to tell them ‘I did deliberately hurt him’ by shaking him?” But Brown answered: “No, I didn’t.”
Following the jury’s verdicts, in his suggestion that a pre-sentence report should be prepared on Kauser, Mr Saunders said: “There are underlying issues. This defendant is socially isolated.
“This is a defendant who may not be able to cope in a custodial setting,” he said, suggesting there may be reasons for suspending any sentence on her.
But Mr Hankin opposed bail, commenting: “Miss Kauser has been convicted of a very serious offence. The maximum sentence is one of 14 years imprisonment.
“It would be very unusual for a court not to pass a sentence measured in years.”
Mr Saunders responded: “I do not concede an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable in this case. This was an attentive and caring mother. The incidents which gave rise to any awareness of risk were short-lived and few.”
But Mr Justice Lindblom ruled: “I do not believe that any of the matters put forward on her behalf at this stage are such as to persuade the court that bail should be granted, although there may be a further application on Tuesday.”
And in relation to Kauser, he added: “The court keeps an entirely open mind as to the appropriate sentence in this case, but there remains a strong possibility that the only appropriate course the court will be able to take is the imposition of an immediate custodial sentence.”