Wolverhampton Parents Jailed For Letting Baby Die From Malnourishment

10 November 2015, 17:32 | Updated: 10 November 2015, 17:34

The parents of a baby girl from Wolverhampton, who was allowed to die because their church didn't believe in modern medical care, have been jailed.

Brian Kandare has been given 9 and a half years in jail, his wife Precious was given 8 years in jail.

They admitted manslaughter after 9 month old Rebecca died from severe malnutrition and pneumonia.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that the couple handed over responsibility of the care of their sick daughter to a "faith healer'' three days before she died, believing in her "supernatural healing powers''.

Outside court Detective Inspector Lloyd Davies spoke to Heart's Michael Perkins:

Prosecuting, Jonas Hankin QC said Rebecca was "significantly underweight and severely malnourished'' and that she weighed as much as a three-month-old when she died at the New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton.

He said: "Her illness was treatable and her death was preventable.

"It is highly unlikely that Rebecca would have died if she has been presented for medical care more than 24 hours before she collapsed.

"The stark reality of this case is that the defendants placed a higher value on adherence to the church's teachings than their daughter's welfare.''

Their church, the Apostolic Church of God in Wolverhampton, had strict views on modern healthcare with members of the congregation encouraged to speak to the church's midwife with medical problems before seeking further help.

Members could also be excluded from certain church activities if they went to a doctor without permission, the court heard.

The court also heard that when Rebecca died of pneumonia caused by a lack of nutrition she weighed 11lb 11oz - just 4lb heavier than her recorded weight two weeks after birth.

There was also no trace of food or milk in her stomach and one expert said she was suffering from the worst case of rickets he had seen in his 33-year career.

Both pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their daughter on Monday, the day which their trial was due to begin.

Mitigating for Mrs Kandare, Nigel Lambert QC said her daughter's death was a "catastrophic episode in her life'' and that she "remains in a state of emotional turmoil''.

She accepted handing her daughter over to the care of the church midwife on the Friday, believing in the "supernatural healing powers''.

He added: "She knows that she chose the wrong course for the wrong reasons and such neglect was a significant cause in Rebecca's death and she will have to live with that.''

Mrs Kandare, who previously trained in nursing, is also in the process of divorcing Mr Kandare, Mr Lambert added.

Mitigating for Mr Kandare, Roger Smith QC said his client will "never forgive himself''.

He added: "His greatest concern is that people will think he did not love his daughter Rebecca.''

Mr Kandare wiped away tears in the dock as he was being sentenced, while Mrs Kandare remained emotionless.