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Couple face jail over death of baby found lifeless on a bus

A drug addict couple are facing lengthy prison sentences after being convicted over the death of their 16-week-old daughter.

Rosalin Baker and Jeffrey Wiltshire

Jeffrey Wiltshire, aged 52, and 25-year-old Rosalin Baker tried to cover up their torture of the newborn by staging an emergency on a bus in London in September last year.

In the days before her death, the court heard, Imani Baker was attacked at least three times, suffering 40 rib fractures, a broken wrist and devastating head injuries.

It took the jury at the Old Bailey 14 hours to clear the pair of murder, but find them guilty of causing or allowing the death of their daughter, who was on the child protection register.

The court heard that Imani had been born premature at 28 weeks in June. She spent 65 days in hospital on a ventilator - and during that time, Baker visited her just 22 times.

Wiltshire did not visit once.

She was finally discharged on August 5 - and detectives believe the abuse began not long after that.

Wiltshire gave Baker a thumbs-up as she got on the bus, carrying her already-dead daughter on her chest Credit: Metropolitan Police

On the morning of September 28, Baker went into a convenience store in Church Road in the Manor Park area, with Imani in a sling on her chest and a cloth over her face.

At this point, police say, the child was already dead.

She then got on the number 25 bus to Stratford, east London, after Wiltshire gave her a kiss and a thumbs-up.

Around 20 minutes into the journey, Baker lifted the cloth as though to check on her child, and then raised the alarm, telling other passengers the baby was not breathing.

CCTV from the bus and part of a 999 call shows how how other passengers tried to administer CPR - while Baker remained calm, playing on her phone.

  • Watch the CCTV and listen to the call below:

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said some passengers mistook the first woman to help as Imani's mother, as she was so distressed compared to the "cold" demeanor of Baker.

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.

– Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecutor

A special post mortem examination was held on September 30, when the cause of death was determined as a head injury.

During the trial, Baker tried to point the finger at her "abusive" boyfriend, saying he had forced her onto the bus with their dead child strapped to her chest.

Baker called another passenger over, saying her daughter had stopped breathing Credit: Metropolitan Police

But former rapper Wiltshire - who went by the name Pepper Head - denied hurting his "tiny and beautiful" daughter either intentionally or unintentionally.

"I'm not a life taker, I'm a baby maker," he told the court.

Remanding the pair in custody, to be sentenced on May 18, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said.

Imani's life must have been painful, distressing and bewildering, and the failure at the very least to protect her is a serious matter indeed that must result in a custodial sentence.

– Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC
The woman began helping Imani while Baker watched Credit: Metropolitan Police

Det Ch Insp Gary Holmes, from the Metropolitan Police, said he had never before seen such a high degree of violence and cruelty inflicted on a child so young.

"The loss of any child is tragic but to know that baby Imani was tortured and was probably in considerable pain in her last few hours is heart-rending," he said.

"Baker and Wiltshire orchestrated the most devious of plans in an attempt to cover up the abuse that had been inflicted upon their daughter.

"Their ruse quickly unravelled when medical professionals were able to determine that Imani had probably died up to 24 hours previously and with this overwhelming and compelling evidence charges against the two were swiftly brought."

Baker remained on her phone as others fought fruitlessly to save her daughter's life Credit: Metropolitan Police

"The events of that day will have a lasting and devastating impact on the many passengers on board the bus," he added.

"Many of those who stepped in to provide medical assistance were left completely distressed when they realised their efforts to save Imani were futile, not knowing that the entire incident had been staged.

"Baker misled these good Samaritans and gave no thought to anyone but herself as she callously remained on her mobile phone throughout."