THE mother of tragic Coventry toddler Khaleel Hussain told a jury he suffered his fatal injuries after she left him alone with her boyfriend while she went out to buy nappies.
But Samina Kauser said that although she did not trust Keith Brown 100 per cent, little Khaleel had been fine when she had left him with Brown on two previous occasions.
Kauser (25) of Richmond Street, Stoke, Coventry, has denied allowing the death of a child by failing to take steps she could reasonably have been expected to take to protect him.
Sitting at the opposite end of the dock at Warwick Crown Court was Brown (23) of Swan Lane, Stoke, Coventry, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of the toddler.
The jury has heard 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.
It is alleged Khaleel’s fatal injury had been caused by Brown, probably by shaking him forcibly and throwing him down onto a soft surface, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC has told the jury.
Kauser is said to have left Khaleel in the house with Brown while she went to a nearby shop, despite an incident a week earlier when she was said to have found him smothering the boy’s face with a duvet.
Mr Hankin said that 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.
But giving evidence, Kauser denied that when she went into her son’s bedroom after he had gone to bed five days earlier she had seen Brown smothering the toddler with his duvet. “I was not worried, because what I saw was he was leaning over Khaleel.”
She agreed she said she did not trust Brown 100 per cent with Khaleel but, questioned by her barrister Zafar Ali QC, she explained she did not trust any of her friends or the two women who ran the crèche he attended 100 per cent either.
Mr Hankin suggested to her that when she had walked into the bedroom Khaleel was silent, to which she said he was ‘quiet.’
Put again that he was silent, she replied: “No, because when I picked him up and said ‘OK baby?’ he said yeah. He responded to me.”
Kauser was reminded that in her police interview she had said: “When I walk over to him and it’s like he was just still lying there. I was waiting for him to sit up, but when I went over he was just still, just lying there, just completely still.”
She answered that that was just for two or three seconds before she picked him up, and that she believed Brown had scared him by pretending to be the blue monster from the film Monsters Inc which she said Khaleel was watching at the time.
Mr Hankin said that in her interview Kauser said her son had failed to respond to her question twice until she sat him up and asked him again, and she agreed he had not responded at first.
Mr Hankin put to her: “It happened right in front of you. You had watched Mr Brown holding his duvet over his face.” But Kauser replied: “No, I didn’t see that.”
It was suggested she had changed her account because to accept she had seen Brown holding the duvet over his face ‘meant you were aware Mr Brown posed a real risk to your son, because if a grown man smothers a young boy there’s a risk of serious harm.’
Kauser answered: “I didn’t see that. If there was something really wrong I would have taken him to hospital.”
She told the jury that on the day Khaleel suffered his fatal injury she had woken at around 11am and went downstairs to the kitchen and then to the bathroom, and that it was while she was downstairs that she heard movement in Khaleel’s room.
She said she brought him down and was going to change him, but did not do so because he had not soiled the nappy he had on, and she gave him some Jaffa cakes and a drink.
Kauser said she realised she had run out of nappies, so decided to go out to get some and one or two other things, and did not take Khaleel because his pushchair was ‘almost knackered.’
Mr Hankin pointed out she had not referred to the need for nappies as her reason for going out in any of her police interviews, and suggested she had incorporated a previous occasion she had left her son with Brown into her account in court.
And the barrister put to her: “The real reason you went out was to make a phone call to your other boyfriend Jameel Gul. You were on the phone just as soon as you were out of the house.”
She accepted she rang him, but said that had not been the reason for going out.
Asked whether Khaleel knew she was going out without him, Kauser said: “He might have seen me. The stair gate was on and his bedroom door was half open.”
She accepted that if he had seen her leaving he would have wanted to go with her and would have got upset at being left.
Mr Hankin pointed out that a nurse said Kauser had told her Khaleel had been ‘running around excited at going to the shops,’ and that she had told him to go upstairs to get his clothes – and then left the house.
She denied tricking her son on that occasion, but accepted she may have said that to the nurse.
Kauser agreed she had told medical staff she had been in the bathroom and heard Khaleel fall down the stairs before finding him face-down at the bottom of the stairs.
Asked why she had lied about that, she said: “That’s what Keith told me, that Khaleel had fallen down the stairs. I believed what Keith had told me.
“If I didn’t believe him I would have said that to the ambulance crew. I believed Keith when he said Khaleel had fallen down the stairs. The only lie I said was that I was in the house.”
Mr Hankin put to her: “You didn’t want to tell people you had left Khaleel with Mr Brown because you knew from everything you had seen of his conduct towards Khaleel, not least his smothering of him five days earlier, that you had left him with a man who could not be trusted.” But she replied: “No.”
The trial continues.