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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 16:28 GMT
Father murdered 'possessed' baby
Sitab Ullah
Ullah was a heavy heroin and crack cocaine user
A drug addict who became convinced his baby daughter was possessed by spirits has been convicted of her murder.

Three-month-old Samira Ullah died from head injuries but also had cigarette burns, broken ribs and twisted wrists and ankles, the Old Bailey heard.

Community worker Sitab Ullah, 26, had been taking crack cocaine and heroin and had become paranoid, his wife said.

Ullah, of Maida Vale, north-west London was found guilty of murder. His wife Salma Begum admitted child neglect.

Ullah, who had denied murder and child cruelty, was a community worker at North Westminster sixth form college, where he liaised with police.

He was saying he was not hurting her. He was hurting the thing inside her
Salma Begum in court

He was trusted enough to be allowed to sit in on interviews as an "appropriate adult" chaperoning Bangladeshi youngsters at police stations.

But while he was well thought of by local police, the court heard he subjected his daughter to "appalling violence".

Samira's injuries began as soon as she was allowed home from hospital.

Speaking from behind a screen Begum told the court: "[Ullah] started to think she was possessed by the ghost or a spirit.

"He didn't want me to feed her too much. He complained she was becoming greedy because he thought the thing inside her wanted to be fed all the time."

She added: "He was saying he was not hurting her. He was hurting the thing inside her."

This is the worst case of systematic torture I have seen
Detective Sergeant Patrick Barnes

The Old Bailey was told social services allowed the baby to go home, despite Begum twice being temporarily rehoused away from Ullah, who had beaten her.

The baby had been seen once by a health visitor, but the couple had avoided two further appointments.

Jurors were told Begum once caught her husband strangling the girl and said that on the day Samira died, 16 October 2004, he had shaken her and then gone out for chicken and chips.

Later they tried to feed the baby but she did not respond.

'Horrendous injuries'

Richard Whittam, prosecuting, said there were spots of blood on the ceiling and walls of the bedroom she shared with her parents.

Outside court, Detective Sergeant Patrick Barnes said: "Samira went through hell. Her injuries were horrendous.

"In 26 years as a detective, this is the worst case of systematic torture I have seen.

"It shows what crack can do to the mind. This man believed his baby was possessed.

"It is the worst case the Metropolitan Police has had since Victoria Climbie."

Both Ullah and Begum are due to be sentenced on Thursday.



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