Page last updated at 19:21 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 20:21 UK

Mother guilty of daughter murders

Rekha Kumari-Baker
Kumari-Baker's defence team claimed she had an "abnormality of mind"

A mother who stabbed her daughters to death at her home in Cambridgeshire has been found guilty of their murder.

Rekha Kumari-Baker, 41, admitted the killings but had denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Davina Baker, 16, and Jasmine Baker, 13, were killed with a kitchen knife in a frenzied attack in 2007.

A jury at Cambridge Crown Court took about 30 minutes to reach a verdict of guilty on both counts of murder. She will be sentenced on Tuesday.

I was robbed of my daughters by an act of calculated viciousness
David Baker

The court heard Davina was stabbed 39 times at the house in Stretham, on 13 June 2007.

There were wounds on the girl's body which showed she had tried to defend herself.

Kumari-Baker, a hotel worker, then attacked her younger daughter in similar fashion.

The jury was told that after killing the children she rang a friend to say: "I have done something terrible."

In a hand-written note she left at the murder scene, she wrote: "I don't want them to get hurt as I did."

She concluded the note by writing: "My kids will not be a burden to anyone anymore."

Davina and Jasmine
Davina and Jasmine were killed with a kitchen knife

The court heard there was "much contention" between the defendant and her ex-husband over the care and custody of their children.

Jurors were told one theory was that Kumari-Baker wanted to "wreak havoc" on her ex-husband David Baker by killing the girls.

She had also been distressed by a break-up of a relationship with her boyfriend Jeff Powell, the court heard.

Evidence was also heard that Kumari-Baker twice told her older daughter "I wish you were dead", during a meeting with teachers in 2004.

Prosecutor John Farmer said Kumari-Baker had bought the murder weapon at an Asda supermarket in Cambridge on 11 June 2007.

He said she had woken early on 13 June and then gone to the girls' bedrooms and murdered them.

Psychiatrist Lyle Hamilton - who was called to give evidence by Kumari-Baker's lawyers - said medical literature showed that women had killed children because they were "mentally ill" and because they were a "retaliatory type".

Kumari-Baker's note
Kumari-Baker left a note after murdering her daughters

He said Kumari-Baker displayed a combination of both categories.

But Dr Neil Hunt, a consultant psychiatrist, told jurors he did not think there was evidence of any mental illness, despite Kumari-Baker's "extreme and unusual behaviour".

After the verdicts, Det Insp Jim McCrorie said: "It became clear, as this investigation progressed, that Rekha Kumari-Baker set out to murder her children.

"Only she will know the reasons why she carried out such a vicious and deliberate attack as they lay sleeping in their beds.

"Davina and Jasmine were two innocent young teenagers who were killed by the person they should have been able to trust most in this world.

"In 25 years in the police service I have never before investigated such an upsetting or sickening crime. "

After the hearing, businessman Mr Baker said "not a day passes" when he did not think of Davina and Jasmine.

"I was robbed of my daughters by an act of calculated viciousness by a woman who, having given life to them, in her vindictive mind believed she also had a right to take that life from them.

"She will now pay the price for this."



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SEE ALSO
Daughter murders leads to review
21 Sep 09 |  Cambridgeshire
Mother had 'depressive disorder'
16 Sep 09 |  Cambridgeshire
Woman in 'abnormal mental state'
14 Sep 09 |  Cambridgeshire
Murder accused 'not mentally ill'
10 Sep 09 |  Cambridgeshire
Mother 'wished her daughter dead'
09 Sep 09 |  Cambridgeshire
Murder accused 'wished for havoc'
08 Sep 09 |  Cambridgeshire
Daughters killed 'as they slept'
07 Sep 09 |  Cambridgeshire

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