Stepmother loses Dubai court appeal for beating girl, 4, to death

A 24-year-old woman who caused the death of her four-year-old stepdaughter by beating her and causing her internal bleeding lost an appeal against a 10-year jail term on Sunday.

DUBAI // A 24-year-old woman who caused the death of her four-year-old stepdaughter by beating her, causing internal bleeding, lost an appeal against a 10-year jail sentence on Sunday.

Dubai Court of Appeal upheld the sentence handed to Jordanian O A by Dubai Criminal Court last July.

The woman, who screamed hysterically when she heard the sentence, was found guilty of assaulting M R so severely that she caused her death. She had denied the charges in court.

She said the child had fallen from her bicycle on January 30 this year, but her Syrian neighbour, G K, a dentist, thought the girl’s injuries were not consistent with a fall.

Other witnesses said she regularly beat her husband’s three children.

“I was called by neighbours to come and check the child,” he said. “I found some bruises on the head but no fracture in the skull.

“I could see the child had suffered injuries other than those on the head and I didn’t think they were because of the fall.

“Her lips were blue and her skin turned yellow. Her body was very cold so I asked her stepmother to take her to hospital.”

She called her husband, R S, and got his permission to take the child to hospital.

He then called his former wife, the girl’s mother.

“R S called me and informed me that my daughter was at the hospital. When I arrived she was already dead,” said A J, 36.

“They told me she had fallen off her bike but I suspected O A because my daughters told me that she beat them often, especially M R.”

A police report was filed and O A was accused of assault.

The family’s Ethiopian maid, E E, 24, testified that O A had treated her stepdaughters badly since she joined the family.

“She constantly beat them up for the slightest reasons and would have them eat on the floor. But when the father came, she would not do any of that,” the maid said.

She said she left the family four months after the stepmother arrived, and that O A disliked the girl because “she looked very much like her mother and the father loved her the most, and had her sleep in his lap often”.

M R’s sister R M, 10, told prosecutors she was playing outside on the day of the incident.

“I saw O A carrying my sister and she put her on the bike, although it was broken,” the sister said. “Then M R fell but her head did not bang against the wall and O A could have prevented the fall but she did not.

“She took M R inside again and put ice on her head but when her colour changed, O A asked me to call for a female neighbour, who then called the dentist.”

A forensics expert told the court that a bike fall could not have caused the bruises and injuries the child had suffered, especially on the abdomen and back.

He said M R had scratches and bruises on her right shoulder, neck and back as a result of slapping or hitting.

She had signs of a pinch on her ear and bite on her arm. A test on the bite showed possible matches with the defendant’s teeth.

O A was ordered to be deported after her jail term and to pay temporary compensation of Dh20,100 in a civil case.

salamir@thenational.ae

Published: November 23, 2014 04:00 AM

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