British nanny jailed in US for killing baby to be paroled

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The Independent US

A British nanny jailed in America for killing a baby will be released on Monday, prison authorities said yesterday.

Manjit Basuta, who was sentenced to 25 years in 1999 for shaking a San Diego youngster to death, will be paroled today.

But she will stay in prison until after the weekend when she will be picked up by immigration authorities for deportation proceedings, a California Department of Corrections spokeswoman said.

Basuta's term was reduced to eight years after she admitted involuntary manslaughter last year. The former nurse, 48, had protested her innocence and her family, who set up the Free Manjit Basuta Campaign to fight for her release, maintained she only pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain.

Her brother, Sukdave Singh, from Birmingham, said she would be returning to the UK. "She never pleaded guilty to anything. She always claimed her innocence. Even at the time of plea bargaining she did specify she was going to say guilty for the sake of it. Considering the ... things that were stacked against her I think it was a sensible move."

Basuta, formerly of Slough, Berkshire, had already served three years when her sentence was reduced to eight years - making her eligible for parole.

In 1999, she was found guilty of causing 13-month-old Oliver Smith's fatal brain injury by shaking him. Basuta, who has three of her own children, said he was knocked over by another child as they played in the nursery at her £450,000 home in Carmel Valley, San Diego.

But last year she admitted mistreating Oliver after he refused to co-operate when having his nappy changed. She entered guilty pleas to child endangerment resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter.

Basuta and her family moved to the US in 1989. The case sparked comparisons with the case of British teenage nanny Louise Woodward, convicted of second-degree murder for shaking a baby boy to death in Massachusetts. She was freed later when her conviction was reduced to manslaughter.