Illegal immigrant jailed for life for slitting son's throat

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The Independent Online

An illegal immigrant facing deportation was jailed for life yesterday for murdering his baby son. Shahajan Kabir, 40, from Bangladesh, slashed Hassan, aged 10 months, three times across the neck with a knife.

An illegal immigrant facing deportation was jailed for life yesterday for murdering his baby son. Shahajan Kabir, 40, from Bangladesh, slashed Hassan, aged 10 months, three times across the neck with a knife.

Hassan's mother, Lorna Martin, and his grandmother, Pauline Martin, who were also injured during the attack last year, had taken the baby to Greggs bakers in Carlisle to choose a cake for his birthday. Kabir, who was distraught at the prospect of being sent back to Bangladesh and losing contact with his son, followed Ms and Mrs Martin into the bakery and attacked the baby. He had tried to kidnap Hassan a week earlier, having separated from Ms Martin, in April 2003.

Kabir was told yesterday that he would serve a minimum of 13 years in prison and that he faced deportation from the UK on his release. The jury at Carlisle Crown Court also found him guilty of unlawfully wounding Ms Martin, 21, and Mrs Martin, 40, in the same incident, for which he received a two- year jail sentence to be served concurrently.

Ms Martin, who sat in court during the trial with friends and family, wept as the verdict was delivered.

In the attack, on 21 October, Kabir took a 12-inch knife from the restaurant where he worked in Carlisle, put it in a plastic bag and followed Hassan and the two women into the bakery. A scuffle followed and Kabir attacked his son with the knife while he was still strapped in his pushchair. He slit the infant's throat from ear to ear before being disarmed by passers-by. The jury was told that Kabir was smiling as he attacked Hassan.

Giving evidence, Matthew Bell said he saw Kabir grab Hassan's bib and place the knife to his neck. He said: "He started to cut into the baby's throat. I saw him cut three times as if he was cutting some bread. Blood was oozing from the throat."

During an outburst in court, Kabir admitted it was he who killed Hassan but insisted he could not remember doing it. He claimed he was suffering from depression and could not be held responsible for his actions.

Outside court, Ms Martin's sister, Zoe Muir, said: "It has been difficult to come to terms with the fact that such an innocent child could have died in such a brutal way ...

"We took Shahajan Kabir into our home and our family and he has betrayed us in the cruellest way imaginable."

Mr Justice Leveson told Kabir, who was denied political asylum six weeks before the attack: "On the basis that if you couldn't see Hassan and that on any moment you were likely to be deported from this country, you decided no one should have the pleasure of his company and you would bring his life to an end." He said that there had been "a real degree of planning" in the murder. "It was no accident that you did not stab Lorna or her mother. They were left to suffer the loss of Hassan."

Kabir came to Britain in 1996 on a six-month visa. When it expired he went to ground in Carlisle working as a tandoori chef. He was arrested in May 2002 by immigration officials. On 10 September 2003 his final appeal to stay was dismissed.