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Mother who escaped Somalia with help of British embassy admits to neglect and ultimate death of baby W.

A four and a half month-old baby looked “like something from Auschwitz” when she was found dead at her home by paramedics, a High Court judge has been told. The little girl was “extremely malnourished”, “very underweight” and “profoundly dehydrated” when discovered in October 2013, Mr Justice Hayden heard.

She had been pronounced dead about two hours after being found, but paramedics had thought that she was dead when they arrived. One experienced paramedic called to the scene had never seen a baby in such a condition, said the judge.

Baby W’s mother had been married in her mid-teens after being taken from the UK to Somalia, said the judge. She had returned to the UK about two years ago after becoming pregnant with baby W.

The judge said British embassy officials had helped her “escape” from Somalia. He said the mother, now thought to be in her late teens, had admitted permitting baby W’s death and neglect, and was due to be sentenced soon. But he said the mother appeared to have suffered a “profound psychological breakdown” before her daughter’s death.

And he said a consultant paediatrician who produced a report in the case had been “highly critical” of some agencies involved.

Dr Peter Ehrhardt said some agencies ought to have played a “more active role” in supporting the mother. In particular, he said there ought to have been greater surveillance by the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit – which is run jointly by the Foreign Office and Home Office and provides support and advice to victims of forced marriage.


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