Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Community Safety Murder Family Violence Female Aggression Heidelberg West Melbourne Mum Confesses to Murder of 14 Month old Toddler Daughter Herald Sun April 13, 2016 "Female Aggression, Physical or Emotional is a Female Community Safety Issue" Pete Dowe #genderequality #victoriaagainstviolence #uniteandchange #16days #domesticviolence #emotionalviolence #VICforWomen #genderspecific
Female Aggression, Physical or Emotional is a Female Community Safety issue
and a Child Protection issue
"Little Sanaya’s body was found in a Heidelberg West creek on Sunday, with mum Sofina Nikat claiming the toddler was abducted during a trip to the park.
But Ms Nikat was last night charged with murdering the 14-month old with police saying she had confessed to Sanaya’s killing."
One wonders how many Melburnians speculated on when "the bad Man" who abducted the toddler would be caught
such is the gender-specific approach to family violence which feeds such gender-specific assumptions re perpetrators
THE mum of toddler Sanaya Sahib has not appeared in court because of concerns about her mental health after being charged with her daughter’s murder.
Little Sanaya’s body was found in a Heidelberg West creek on Sunday, with mum Sofina Nikat claiming the toddler was abducted during a trip to the park.
But Ms Nikat was last night charged with murdering the 14-month old with police saying she had confessed to Sanaya’s killing.
Ms Nikat, 22, of Mitcham, did not appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this morning for a short administrative hearing.
Her lawyer Michael McNamara said while it was his client’s preference not to be brought into court, medical experts had given him similar advice.
He said he had been notified about serious concerns about Ms Nikat’s mental health.
Magistrate Johanna Metcalfe allowed the filing hearing to proceed in Ms Nikat’s absence.
Prosecutors have been given until June 22 to prepare the brief of evidence ahead of an August committal hearing.
CCTV footage will form part of the brief.
Ms Nikat remains in custody.
Sanaya’s body was found partially submerged in Darebin Creek early on Sunday.
Her mother told police that on Saturday morning, as she walked in Olympic Park, an African man had snatched her baby and run off.
But police told an out of sessions court hearing last night that Ms Nikat had now made a full confession to murder.
Sanaya’s dad, Sameer Sahib, told the Herald Sun that he was struggling to comprehend his daughter’s death.
“It is a very big shock,” Mr Sahib said, on learning his ex-partner had been charged with murder.
Victoria Police confirmed it was not looking for anybody else in relation to the death.
CCTV footage shows Ms Nikat walking to the park with a baby in a pram and calmly returning a short time later, the pram empty.
Police allege Sanaya was murdered on Saturday, then dumped in Darebin Creek.
Ms Nikat clasped a yellow copy of the Koran tightly during the brief out-of-sessions hearing at Melbourne West police station.
Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey, of the homicide squad, told the hearing Ms Nikat was arrested in Mont Albert at 8.36am, and had made “a full confession to the murder of her 14-month-old child”.
Ms Nikat spoke only to confirm she had been offered tea and a glass of water, softly answering “yeah”.
Ms Nikat, who appeared nervous during the hearing, was dressed in a black cardigan, a pink skirt, black pants and thongs.
She had claimed her baby was snatched by a shoeless African man who smelled of alcohol at 10.10am on Saturday.
But homicide squad detectives found no evidence to back up her claims, and did not release any image of the suspect she had described.
The Herald Sun revealed on Monday that less than a week before the baby’s death, an ambulance had been called to the home in Perth St, Heidelberg West, where Ms Nikat had been staying with her brother.
Sanaya was treated for a seizure at her uncle’s home on Sunday, April 3, and taken to hospital.
It was also revealed the Department of Human Services had previously been involved with the family.
In her original statement to police, Ms Nikat said she chased the African man but being unable to keep up with him, had returned to her brother’s home nearby and raised the alarm.
Police stepped up local patrols to calm public fears.
Heidelberg United Football Club held a minute’s silence for Sanaya before their soccer match.
Before his sister’s arrest, Sanaya’s uncle, Habib Ali, had said his niece was “an angel”.
“Sanaya didn’t deserve what happened to her. I remember she was always a very happy child,” he said.
Meanwhile today, a nine-year-old girl from Heidelberg has paid tribute to Sanaya by singing Amazing Grace at her flower memorial.
Residents living near where the tragedy unfolded will on Friday hold a vigil in Sanaya’s honour.
Pink and yellow balloons will be released near the oval at Olympic Park, where the tot’s body was found.
Organiser Cheyenne Brent, whose partner and three-year-old daughter only recently met little Sanaya at a community centre, said: “My daughter was playing with her while waiting for her appointment.”
“She was just so excited to meet a new little friend,’’ Ms Brent said.
“She was just the most adorable little girl you could have ever met.”
“This has shocked my whole community.
“It’s heartbreaking. There’s a lot of people who are really affected by it so I thought I’d do something nice.
“I told people that we could write little message on the balloons and hopefully she’s looking down when we let them go.”
Those taking part will meet at the footbridge between Northland shopping centre and Olympic Park at 11am.
A public Facebook page has been set up in honour of Sanaya with details of the vigil.
Sharyn Hall, who lives just a few doors down from Sanaya’s uncle’s house, said Ms Nikat’s story about a mystery man snatching the little girl had left her too afraid to allow her three grandchildren to visit the area.
“She made us believe there was a black man on the loose,’’ Ms Hall said.
“A lot of us have got little kids or grandkids and we were frightened, we were afraid.”
Asked why she wanted to attend, Ms Hall said: “We are just laying her to rest.”