Tragic Mariam Alam suffered a “catastrophic” head injury
Mystery still surrounds the death of a Coventry toddler after her mother, her mother’s lover and the lover’s wife were sentenced for conspiring a cruel cover up.
Tragic Mariam Alam suffered a “catastrophic” head injury at the Fisher Road, Foleshill, home of taxi driver Kamran Khalid − who she affectionately called “uncle” − on the afternoon of 30 November 2011.
But rather than seek emergency medical attention he carried the fatally injured three-year-old across the road to her mum Saima Bashir and demanded “keep me out of this” before walking away.
Through a series of phone calls Bashir and Khalid − who were having an affair − immediately set to work hatching a plot to sweep Mariam’s death under the carpet…and even sloped off to discuss alibis whilst paramedics desperately fought to save the youngster.
They tricked police, friends and neighbours into thinking Marian collapsed on the doorstep of her own home following a supermarket shopping trip.
Along with Khalid’s wife Razwanah Yousef (pictured left) they stuck to their lies for more than a year, misleading detectives and removing potentially vital evidence.
Birmingham Crown Court heard Khalid (36) and 34-year-old Yousef initially suggested Mariam never set foot in their home − despite being a regular visitor − whilst a CCTV hard drive disappeared from their house along with camera footage showing Mariam entering and being carried home hurt shortly afterwards.
And when Khalid was finally forced to admit Mariam was hurt whilst in his care he told officers she fell from a child’s plastic desk − but the desk was surreptitiously removed from the house, just days before making the claim, ensuring police were never able to forensically examine it.
Khalid, Bashir (27) and Yousef all admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice and at today’s court hearing Khalid was jailed for two years and ten months, while Bashir and Yousef were both given 18 month jail sentences suspended for two years.
A murder charge against Khalid was dropped due to lack of evidence but he admitted child cruelty for failing to get Mariam emergency medical treatment.
West Midlands Police Detective Chief Inspector Chris Hanson, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “These are three people who were close to Mariam, including her mother, who should have been caring for her and protecting her from harm. Instead, when she suffered a serious injury, they delayed phoning an ambulance and went to great lengths to hide the truth about her death.
“It’s astonishing to think that whilst this little girl lay dying her mother and Khalid were busy concocting a story to cover up the facts − and because of their lies we still don’t know exactly how Mariam received the head injury that killed her.
“Khalid lied throughout the investigation and misled officers…he eventually admitted Mariam died in his care but not out of any desire to help police, rather he’d been backed into a corner by our enquiries and exhausted all his lies. He is deeply dishonest and has never shown any remorse for what happened.
“I just hope that Mariam can now rest in peace.”
The court heard how Bashir often left her daughter at Khalid’s house not just to play but also to create opportunities to visit and continue the affair without raising eyebrows.
She dropped Mariam off at 1.07pm on 30 November 2011 after a trip to a nearby Lidl store where CCTV cameras showed the toddler seemingly fit and well − but minutes after arriving at Khalid’s house she suffered a head injury and died later the same day in hospital.
Paramedics arrived in Fisher Road and found Mariam motionless but breathing slowly in the back room of a relative’s house where Bashir took her injured daughter before disappearing to collude with Khalid.
Phone analysis showed the pair exchanged at least nine phone calls between 1.07pm and 1.36pm during which they invented a story detailing how Mariam was “snotty-nosed and shivery” and collapsed outside her home address following the supermarket trip.
It was a tale they stuck to for many months but continued probing by detectives, unhappy with accounts being provided by the trio and other family members, resulted in Yousef admitting having seen CCTV of her husband carrying Mariam back home.
Khalid changed his version of events to suggest Mariam had been playing in the dining room when she fell from a child’s desk with a bang “like a thunder clap”.
However, medical experts concluded a fall from a play desk only 55cm high would only result in fatal head injuries in “exceptionally rare circumstances” and that it was a “highly questionable” explanation of her death.
Police also made enquiries with the desk manufacturer and found it was designed to withstand weights of up to 30kg and, with Mariam weighing 16kg, there was little chance of the desk collapsing. The makers confirmed they had sold 74,000 desks and had received no reports of children being injured.
Det Chief Insp Hanson, added: “Within a matter of days we became suspicious of the stories we were being told and, when we ramped up our house-to-house enquiries locally, Khalid took an unplanned trip to Pakistan.
“The whole investigation team has been shocked by the cold, cynical way family and friends have tried to cover up Mariam’s death. It’s highly frustrating we were unable to prove precisely what happened to Mariam but, ultimately, we can only go as far as the evidence takes us. We did all we could to secure a murder charge.
“However, our extensive enquiries have resulted in three people being convicted of concealing the true facts surrounding Mariam’s death and that Khalid was, at the very least, responsible for neglecting Mariam when she received a blow to the head.”