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Cyprus

Court hears concerns that dead baby was abused

The parents of the three-month old baby boy who died last week from head injuries were remanded on Tuesday for six days by Paphos district court after suspicions were raised concerning the circumstances around the infant’s injuries.

The baby died last Thursday, four days after his father rushed him to Paphos general hospital in a comatose state. Doctors initially declared him dead and said he had ingested his own vomit but they managed to resuscitate him 45 minutes later and transferred him to Makarios children’s hospital in Nicosia. A head scan showed brain injury and an epidural hematoma. He died on Thursday from his head injuries.

The 29-year-old parents had said that the baby had fallen off the sofa three days before they sought medical assistance, but no one was concerned until he started vomiting. Police however are now investigating whether there is more to the case.

The police investigator told the court the severity of the head injury suffered by the infant is incompatible with falling from a 70-centimetre high sofa. Such an injury, he said, is caused by a drop from a bigger height.

He also told court that a friend of the family reported that the couple have quick tempers and the father consumes a lot of alcohol. They reportedly often left their children to go hungry and without proper sanitary care.

A report against the couple was filed to social welfare services last May, the court heard. The couple has two more young children aged two and three, who have now been put in the care of the welfare office.

The father reportedly told police that on February 17 he heard a thud and after rushing to the bedroom found the baby on the floor, bruised and with a slightly puffy forehead. The baby, the father told police, vomited twice that day, but his condition only raised alarm three days later, when milk was coming out of his nose. A neighbour, he said, took him and the baby to hospital.

The mother told police the baby fell from the sofa while she was at work and they did not take him to hospital as he seemed well. She claimed that when she asked her husband to take the baby to the hospital he refused fearing they would lose custody of their children.

The woman told police that she and her husband have been living in Paphos for the last six years. She described her husband as violent and aggressive and said in the past he had violently rocked the baby, throwing him violently into his crib. She also said her husband got annoyed by the baby when it disturbed him while he was playing TV games.

Police said they have so far taken nine testimonies and will take 40 more from the couple’s family and friends and colleagues of the mother, as the husband is unemployed.

The couple were both arrested on Monday.


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