Mo­ment of killer dad’s thumbs up

Sign to girl­friend as she takes dead baby on bus

Irish Daily Mail - - Life - By Re­becca Cam­ber

THIS is the chill­ing mo­ment a fa­ther gives a thumbs up to his girl­friend as she boards a bus with the body of the baby daugh­ter they tor­tured to death.

Af­ter hatch­ing a plot to avoid jail, par­ents Ros­alin Baker and Jef­frey Wilt­shire pre­tended 16-week-old Imani had fallen ill dur­ing a bus ride through Lon­don.

But, in re­al­ity, the two drug ad­dicts had in­flicted a litany of in­juries in­clud­ing a frac­tured skull, a bro­ken wrist and at least 40 rib frac­tures, be­fore she died on Septem­ber 28 last year.

Af­ter find­ing Imani dead at the end of their bed when they woke that morn­ing, the pair planned to claim she had sud­denly stopped breath­ing on a bus. Yes­ter­day both Baker and Wilt­shire were fac­ing jail af­ter be­ing con­victed of caus­ing or al­low­ing their child’s death.

The pair were cleared of mur­der at the Old Bai­ley af­ter a trial in which they blamed each other for the devious plot. The 25year-old mother was seen on CCTV as she got on to a bus with Imani’s body strapped to her chest. A cloth cov­er­ing the dead in­fant’s face hid the in­juries. Guilty: Jef­frey Wilt­shire, 52 Her 52-year-old part­ner – who boasts he has fa­thered 25 chil­dren – es­corted her to the bus stop, where he gave her the thumbs up ges­ture and a kiss on the lips.

For 20 min­utes on the bus, Baker sat tex­ting and making phone calls be­fore beck­on­ing a fel­low pas­sen­ger for help. As the dis­traught pas­sen­ger des­per­ately tried to re­sus­ci­tate the child, who was cold to the touch when she picked her up, the mother chat­ted on the phone.

An am­bu­lance was called and the bus was stopped. As other pas­sen­gers wept, Baker did not bother to get up. Para­medic An­thony Stead­man said: ‘The mother dis­played no emo­tion … no ques­tions asked. I had never seen that re­ac­tion from a par­ent be­fore. She seemed cold.’

Po­lice of­fi­cer Ge­or­gia Ross said Baker was tex­ting dur­ing doc­tors’ 40-minute bat­tle to save Imani, adding: ‘She didn’t once ask how the baby was.’

Imani was taken to Ne­wham Hospi­tal, east Lon­don, and was pro­nounced dead. Rigor mor­tis had set in. A post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion re­vealed she had suf­fered brain dam­age and was likely to have been dead long be­fore the bus ride. The par­ents were ar­rested that day.

Baker blamed her abu­sive boyfriend and claimed he tried to frame her by forc­ing her on to the bus, say­ing: ‘It’s all your fault, I told you to give her up for adop­tion.’

The mother said Wilt­shire un­dressed the dead baby, changed her nappy and put her in new clothes be­fore they left home. Baker claimed his as­saults had caused Imani’s pre­ma­ture birth, but in­sisted she had not no­ticed her daugh­ter’s in­juries be­fore. Wilt­shire, a former rap­per hooked on co­caine and heroin, told the court: ‘I’m not a life taker, I’m a baby maker.’

He de­nied ever hav­ing been vi­o­lent to­wards any of his 25 chil­dren or the 18 women who gave birth to them, and said he had no idea how Imani was killed.

Yes­ter­day Judge Ni­cholas Hil­liard said: ‘Imani’s life must have been painful, dis­tress­ing, and be­wil­der­ing.

He re­manded the cou­ple in cus­tody un­til sen­tenc­ing on May 18.

‘Imani’s life must have been painful’

Plot: He ges­tures to the mother as she pre­pares to pre­tend their baby, who died hours ear­lier, has fallen se­ri­ously ill on bus

Fac­ing jail: Ros­alin Baker, 25

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