Mother and boyfriend guilty of inflicting 107 injuries on child

Two-year-old girl died from acts of 'cruelty beyond belief', judge tells couple
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The Independent Online

A girl aged two was beaten to death by her mother and her boyfriend, who inflicted 107 separate injuries during four weeks of violence.

Sanam Navsarka was "bruised and battered repeatedly" and suffered broken bones in her arms and legs during her final month. After she died, her mother, Zabheen Navsarka, told police she had drowned in the bath.

Yesterday, Navsarka, 21, was jailed for nine years for manslaughter; her boyfriend, Subhan Anwar, also 21, was found guilty of murder and told he must serve a minimum of 23 years. Judge Peter Thornton QC told the pair in Bradford Crown Court: "Your deliberate cruelty is beyond belief. It is almost unbelievable the pain and anguish [Sanam] must have suffered, not just once or twice, but repeatedly and persistently over weeks at your cruel and selfish hands." Of Sanam, he added: "Humanity has let her down."

The court heard that Sanam was abused over four weeks and died in severe pain in May last year. She had her legs broken with a metal pole and had aftershave squirted on her open nappy-rash wounds. She was unable to walk, use her hands properly or breathe normally. When she cried, her punishment was to be put in a dark cupboard. Tiny handprints and bloodstains were found inside cupboards.

The couple had been visited once by social services before the abuse began. The couple even applied to become foster parents in the weeks before Sanam died. The judge said that although Anwar, who is not the child's father, was the main abuser, Navsarka knew what was happening. "You did nothing, absolutely nothing," he told her. "That is unbelievable. It is also incredibly cruel. This was a gross abuse of trust by you as a mother. You selfishly put your relationship with Anwar before your child."

The jury of six men and six women had been shown a mobile phone video, taken by Anwar, of Sanam the day before she died. She was lying limp on the floor with her arms shaking by the side of her head. The day after, the couple left the child alone in their house in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, while they went to register with a GP. Later, Sanam was rushed to hospital unconscious. The couple said she had stopped breathing after falling underwater in the bath.

But a pathologist said that the death was caused by fatty deposits entering her bloodstream as a result of fractured thigh bones left untreated. When arrested, Navsarka and Anwar blamed each other for the injuries, each claiming to be scared of the other

The family had been visited once by a social worker, nine months before the child's death. But, as the beatings came in the final four weeks of Sanam's life, she had not noticed any injuries.

Outside court, Detective Inspector Trevor Gasson, of West Yorkshire Police, said the investigation was one of the most "horrific" and "emotionally charged" he has had to deal with in 25 years of policing.

Kirklees Council said that the child was not on the child protection register, nor was the family known to social services.