Fasting death accused experienced Jesus delusions

time:2023-06-03 03:04:02source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center8

A woman accused of killing her three-year-old son through religious fasting had delusions of being brought back to life by Jesus, a court heard.

Olabisi Abubakar, 42, denies manslaughter and neglect charges.

She is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia and is appearing at court via video link from hospital.

Ms Abubakar was found "thin, malnourished and dehydrated" on a sofa bed alongside her son, Taiwo, in June 2020.

Taiwo weighed just 9.8kg (1st 5lb) and had died of malnutrition and dehydration, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Ms Abubakar allegedly forced her son to take part in fasting in an attempt to seek help from God during the Covid pandemic.

On Friday a jury heard psychiatrist Dr Christina Tang assessed Ms Abubakar following her arrest, and found that in the weeks leading up to police being called to the woman's flat she had been suffering paranoia and delusions.

She believed a neighbour had attacked her with a hammer and "pulled her into her grave".

Ms Abubakar believed she had then been "brought back to life by Jesus".

Dr Tang said Ms Abubakar had experienced auditory hallucinations and a delusional belief God would save her from problems with her neighbour and coronavirus.

In the days before her son's death she had suffered confusion, disorientation and hallucinations.

She was, Dr Tang said, "vividly seeing and hearing things that weren't there".

Ms Abubakar's mental illness meant she could not make rational judgements, the court was told.

Caroline Rees KC, defending, said psychotic symptoms Ms Abubakar had since February 2020 had driven her to strict fasting.

She said Ms Abubakar believed fasting would bring protection from God.

The jury was shown body-worn camera footage of the moments after officers forced entry into the flat in Cathays, Cardiff, on June 29.

In it Ms Abubakar could be heard telling officers: "He's dead, he's dead, he's dead."

The court was told Ms Abubakar had "consciously and deliberately neglected" Taiwo by failing to provide food and water and by "forcing him to fast with her".

Prosecutor Mark Heywood KC said Ms Abubakar experienced delusions as a result of her paranoid schizophrenia.

The court previously heard Ms Abubakar was a Pentecostal Christian who believed fasting was important to her faith, but that children were not expected to take part in the fast.

Notes were found in the flat in Ms Abubakar's handwriting which detailed occasions when she and Taiwo were fasting.

Ms Abubakar later told police that she had been fasting, but denied withholding food and water from Taiwo.

Mr Heywood told the jury a friend of Ms Abubakar raised the alarm when he was unable to contact her.

Police, he said, forced open the door of her flat in Cardiff to find a "tragic and distressing scene".

Since her diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, Ms Abubakar had been responding well to treatment, the court heard.

The trial continues.

Related content
Recommended content