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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Mother denies killing children
Trupti Patel
A mother accused of suffocating her three babies has told a court she did not murder her children.

Trupti Patel, 35, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, answered "no" each time when asked in turn whether she killed her two sons, Amar and Jamie, and her baby daughter Mia.

During the trial at Reading Crown Court, Mrs Patel also revealed that her husband and herself had decided not to have any more children.

Mrs Patel's three children were less than three months old when they died between 1997 and 2001.

Amar died at three months old. Did you love him?
Kieran Coonan QC

She told the court: "We will not be having any more children.

"We have already made inquiries for Jay (her husband) to have a vasectomy, but we have been told it is too early after the recent events and we should wait for the whole stresses to die down before considering it."

Mrs Patel also revealed that her grandmother lost five children in infancy.

She said that after she was arrested in May 2002, her mother made inquiries with her grandmother in India about whether there was any history of infant death in the family.

"I was told my grandmother had lost five children in infancy, I was not aware of the causes or the ages," Mrs Patel said.

Parents 'anxious'

Mrs Patel also went on to recall the death of her son Amar in 1997.

She told the hearing that he had been suffering from sniffles in the days before his collapse but had otherwise been healthy.

Mrs Patel said that when she awoke and got up at about 0700 GMT she did not check on Amar because he had had an unsettled night and she felt he needed the rest.

When she went to check on him between 0900 and 0930 GMT that morning, she said she found him lying in his basket not breathing.

We have anxieties about whether Jamie might die and in the meantime we wanted to enjoy him just as a baby, not to have any worries.
Mrs Patel
Mrs Patel told the court that she dialled for an ambulance and attempted to resuscitate Amar before the paramedics arrived to bring him to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

She said that at that point she did not know what the cause of death was.

Mrs Patel said that prior to the birth of her second son Jamie in June 1999, she and her husband were "anxious" about the possibility that what had happened with Amar could happen to them again.

Kieran Coonan QC, defending, asked Mrs Patel whether she recalled a meeting with nurse Helen Johnson, who had been appointed to help the family under the Care of the Next Infant scheme offered to parents who had lost a baby.

'Declined CPR training

He asked Mrs Patel whether she recalled telling Ms Johnson that she wanted to enjoy Jamie "for as long as possible, while we still have him".

"Was there anything sinister in that?" asked Mr Coonan.

"I do not think so," said Mrs Patel.

When asked to explain what she meant, Mrs Patel said: "We have anxieties about whether Jamie might die and in the meantime we wanted to enjoy him just as a baby, not to have any worries."

Mrs Patel denied that she had appeared "detached" from her baby at that meeting.

Mother's denial

And she said she declined Ms Johnson's invitation for more CPR training because she felt she was confident with her technique.

Mrs Patel told the hearing that on the day Jamie collapsed she breastfed him before placing him in his carrycot in the couple's bedroom.

Mrs Patel said she heard Jamie, who was just 15 days old, breathing normally in his cot.

But, she said, her husband later came out of the bedroom with Jamie in his arms and said their baby appeared not to be breathing.

Her husband called for an ambulance and soon after paramedics arrived and Jamie was taken to hospital by air ambulance, she said.

"Did you do anything to hurt him?" asked Mr Coonan.

"No," said Mrs Patel struggling to hold back the tears.

The trial continues.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"She had found that there had been a series of infant deaths in both her and her husband's families"

Accused mother 'welcomed inquiry'
07 May 03  |  Berkshire
Accused mother wanted attention
06 May 03  |  Berkshire
'Murdered baby's tests normal'
02 May 03  |  Berkshire
Accused mother 'not caring'
01 May 03  |  Berkshire
Accused mother sobs at 999 tape
30 Apr 03  |  Berkshire
Mother 'stopped babies breathing'
29 Apr 03  |  Berkshire

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