Parents jailed for the manslaughter of their baby

10/11/2015

The parents of an eight-a-half-month old baby whose religious beliefs discouraged them from seeking medical attention which ultimately led to the child’s death, have today been sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to a total of 17-and-a half years after they pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Rebecca Kandare was born on 22 April 2013 to Brian Kandare, 29, and Precious Kandare, 37, and when she died on 6 January 2014, she weighed 11lbs 11oz, just 4lbs heavier than her recorded weight two weeks after birth.

Rebecca had been born a healthy baby and in the first two weeks of life she had gained weight at a normal rate. At post mortem she was found to be significantly underweight and severely malnourished. There was no evidence of underlying natural disease, either congenital or acquired, to explain her failure to thrive, which was a direct cause of her death.

The child's illness was treatable and her death was preventable. It is highly unlikely that Rebecca would have died if she had been presented for medical care more than 24 hours before she collapsed. Malnourishment caused terminal bronchopneumonia.

The parents were arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter in the alternative. Following receipt of all of the evidence the prosecution team made the decision to proceed to trial for both defendants on a joint charge of unlawful act manslaughter.

The trial was due to commence on Monday 9 November 2015. On that date both the defendants entered pleas to unlawful act manslaughter.

Brian Kandare was today jailed for nine-and-a-half years and Precious to eight years.

Julia Mcsorley, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service said:

"This was an exceptionally legally challenging case, concerned with conduct that lies on the boundary between criminal acts of omission and commission.

"When Rebecca passed away she was extremely emaciated and medical expert's reports stated that severe malnutrition of the severity seen in Rebecca, for practical purposes, is not seen in the United Kingdom today

"Both parents had a duty to ensure their child was adequately fed. Not only had Rebecca failed to gain weight, she had in fact lost weight, and her parents could not have failed to notice both this and the bony abnormality that had developed in her chest.

"There can be no doubt that they were well aware of her condition and the need for medical treatment. In breach of their duty to care for their daughter, Brian and Precious Kandare are guilty of the most serious abuse of trust."