Nigerian mum who starved son to death by fasting in UK found not guilty

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A Nigerian woman who starved her son to death in the United Kingdom has been found to have been insane, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Olabisi Abubakar, 42, was found thin and dehydrated next to the body of son Taiwo at their flat in Cathays, Cardiff in June 2020.

The court heard she was a devout pentecostal Christian who had fasted for many years.

A jury found her not guilty on Friday by reason of insanity of a charge of manslaughter and two of child cruelty.

During her trial, two psychiatrists said Ms Abubakar was suffering with paranoid schizophrenia during the pandemic.

The former hairdresser became “engulfed by her religious beliefs” and began fasting for long periods with her young son due to personal pressures and fears about Covid, the court heard.

Abubakar and her son were discovered by police during lockdown in 2020.

She was detained in a hospital for paranoid schizophrenia treatment and later charged.

Judge Justice Jefford said the case had been one in which a “sociable, good and caring” mother had suffered from a mental illness that resulted in her child’s death.

It is believed Abubakar, who arrived as an asylum seeker in the UK from Nigeria in in 2011, had been fasting for three to four months before she and her son were discovered.

She attended her trial via video link from hospital.

She believed she had fallen asleep on June 26 and was brought back from heaven when police arrived.

She told police: “I saw myself among the dead in heaven. I was saying: ‘I don’t want to die’.

“Then I saw the angels of God and they brought me back to life.”

Following the verdicts, Taiwo’s father released a statement in which he called his son an “amazing boy”.