Mother took daughter to doctor before stabbing

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The Independent Online

A woman who stabbed her two teenage daughters to death as they slept took one to a doctor two days before the attack and appeared "light-hearted", a court heard today.

Rekha Kumari-Baker, 41, killed Davina Baker, 16, and Jasmine Baker, 13, at her home in Stretham, Cambridgeshire, on June 13, 2007, Cambridge Crown Court has heard.

Prosecutors have suggested that Kumari-Baker killed the girls in order to "wreak havoc" on her ex-husband David Baker.

Kumari-Baker is mounting a defence of diminished responsibility defence, with lawyers arguing that she was suffering from an abnormality of mind which would make her guilty of manslaughter but not murder.

GP David Toase today told jurors that he had seen Kumari-Baker and Jasmine on June 11, 2007 because Jasmine was having problems with a persistent cough.

He said both patients left his surgery shortly before 5pm - less than 36 hours before Jasmine and her sister were killed.

"Jasmine was light-hearted and laughing and giggling and there was no evidence of any tension between the two of them at all," Dr Toase told the court.

"(Kumari-Baker) seemed fine. It was a light-hearted consultation."

Prosecutors say that by June 11 Kumari-Baker had bought two knives to use as weapons and was planning to kill her daughters.

Dr Toase said he had previously seen Kumari-Baker and Jasmine on June 4, 2007, when their moods were also "light-hearted".

"It (the June 4 consultation) was a light-hearted consultation," added Dr Toase.

"Jasmine and (Kumari-Baker) seemed happy. Jasmine was laughing and giggling."

Dr Toase told the court that concerns had previously been raised about the mental health of both Kumari-Baker and Davina.

He said that in 2003 Kumari-Baker had been diagnosed as suffering from "reactive stress with mild depressive features" and referred to a counsellor.

But Dr Toase said clinical depression had not been diagnosed and he added: "I was unable to find any evidence of mental health problems with (Kumari-Baker)."

He told the court that Davina had been seen by a child psychiatrist in 2004.

He said Davina had gone on to allege that her mother (occasionally hit her during arguments).

Dr Toase said social services were involved to assess the teenager's home arrangement.

But medics had concluded that Davina was at low risk of self-harm and that the teenager had no mental health problem.

Dr Toase said he had seen Davina with her father, David Baker, in October 2004 and found her to be a "pleasant, happy 14-year-old".

Dr Toase was asked if he felt any "sense of responsibility".

He told the court: "Yes, inevitably. I've been through those consultations in my mind many, many times.

"I am convinced in my own mind there is nothing I could have picked up on."

The hearing continues.