Mom Kills Baby After Imam Tells Her It's Possessed

From Mirror:
A mum accused of murdering her 14-month-old daughter was told by an imam her baby was possessed, police said.

Sofina Nikat, 23, was struggling to care for daughter Sanaya and sought guidance from her Fijian parents who told her an imam they consulted said the baby was controlled by an evil spirit, officers said in a court summary.

The young mum received lockets and prayers that she was told she and Sanaya should wear to try to remove the "spirit" and was told to "cleanse" the baby in holy water, a court heard.

Nikat will stand trial at Melbourne Magistrates' Court accused of murdering her daughter after the toddler's body was found in Darebin Creek, Heidelberg West, last April.

The mum has denied the charge.

Nikat initially reported Sanaya had been snatched from her pram by an African stranger who smelled of alcohol in Olympic Park but then later told police she made up the story "because she was scared", court documents revealed.

She then allegedly told police she covered the baby's nose and mouth until she could no longer breathe before she dumped her body into the creek.

The court heard Nikat told police her baby would "cry and growl at the roof" and that she was advised Sanaya had "negative energy".

She allegedly told police her daughter was "better off in a better place".

Days before she died Sanaya suffered convulsions and a seizure, the court heard.

Nikat's defence lawyer Christopher Dane argued the 23-year-old should only be tried for infanticide, which carries a lower penalty than murder.

He made the case after two psychiatric reports suggested Nikat was mentally disturbed at the time of her daughter's death.

But magistrate Luisa Bazzani upheld the murder charge on the grounds the psychiatrist's evidence had not been tested.

Nikat is due to return to court on Friday.

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