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Parents charged with murdering their 11-week-old daughter who died after suffering 'bite marks'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 07/10/2022 Summer Goodkind For Mailonline

A mother and father have appeared in court after being charged with murdering their 11-week-old daughter who died after suffering a brain bleed, fractures to her skull and 'bite marks'.

Labourer Krunal Prajapati, 26, and Rinkalben Prajapati, 23, of Barnet, north-west London, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday charged with murdering their daughter Hazel Prajapati.

An investigation was launched on September 16 after Hazel was admitted in an unresponsive condition to Northwick Park Hospital in north London with bleeding in her brain, fractures to her skull and bruising over her body.

Her parents, who are Indian nationals, had taken her there in a taxi from the home in Colindale.

Hazel was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital where she died on September 20.

Labourer Krunal Prajapati, 26, and Rinkalben Prajapati, 23, of Barnet, north-west London, appeared at the Old Bailey (pictured) on Friday charged with murdering their daughter Hazel Prajapati © Provided by Daily Mail Labourer Krunal Prajapati, 26, and Rinkalben Prajapati, 23, of Barnet, north-west London, appeared at the Old Bailey (pictured) on Friday charged with murdering their daughter Hazel Prajapati

A special post-mortem examination took place on September 26 and found bone fractures and bite marks on her left arm and thigh. 

They gave the provisional cause of death as a head injury. 

The couple were charged with Hazel’s murder and the alternative offence of allowing or causing the death of a child.

On Friday, they appeared at the Old Bailey before Judge Mark Lucraft KC for a preliminary hearing.

The father wiped away tears in the dock while his wife was on video link from Bronzefield jail.

Neither of them spoke except to confirm their names and date of births, assisted by a Gujarati interpreter.  

Prosecutor Joel Smith said: ‘The defendants face charges of murder and in the alternative causing or allowing the death of a child.

‘The deceased is their daughter Hazel.

‘She was only 11-weeks-old at the time of her death.

‘The defendants have lived together in a single room with ensuite bathroom in Colindale since June of this year.

‘On 1 July, Hazel was born at Northwick Park Hospital. Mother and baby were released home on 3 July. There were no medical concerns.

An investigation was launched on September 16 after Hazel was admitted in an unresponsive condition to Northwick Park Hospital in north London © Provided by Daily Mail An investigation was launched on September 16 after Hazel was admitted in an unresponsive condition to Northwick Park Hospital in north London

‘But there were various visits by health workers and visits to the GP.’

Mr Smith said no concerns were noted.

He continued: ‘On 16 September of this year Hazel was fatally assaulted at the family home.’

Mr Prajapati, a labourer, returned home from work that evening to his wife, baby and their flatmate, the court heard.

It is claimed that the couple were cooking in the kitchen just after 8pm when Hazel began to cry.

Mr Smith said the parents took her to Northwick Park Hospital in a taxi a short while later.

‘They arrived at the hospital shortly before 10 o’clock and told staff that Hazel had been breathing irregularly and fitting.

‘At that stage she was showing no signs of life.

‘Body mapping...showed 10 areas of bruising and swelling to head, arms, abdomen, leg.

‘There was also bleeding on the brain.

‘Hazel was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital where a CT scan showed bleeding and swelling to the brain, fractures to the skull and retinal haemorrhages.

‘Her life was pronounced extinct on 20 September.

‘A subsequent post-mortem examination has given the provisional cause of death as head injury.

‘The examination revealed significant bruising and a large skull fracture extending from the mid line across the top of the head.

‘There was also haemorrhages covering the brain, around the spinal cord, fractures to the rib cage, leg bones and forearm bones.

‘Two circular marks to the left arm and left thigh believed to be bite marks.’

The Recorder of London, Judge Mark Lucraft, KC, remanded the parents in custody ahead of a plea and trial preparation hearing at the Old Bailey on 24 March next year.

A trial, under a High Court Judge, has been provisionally fixed for 4 September next year.  

The defendants were remanded into custody.

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