Baby 'bus death' pair's 'excessive' prison sentences reduced

A couple who tried to cover up their baby's torture and death at home by staging the discovery of her body on a bus have won a challenge against their "manifestly excessive" prison sentences.
Jeffrey Wiltshire and Rosalin BakerJeffrey Wiltshire and Rosalin Baker
Jeffrey Wiltshire and Rosalin Baker

Jeffrey Wiltshire, 53, and Rosalin Baker, 26, each had a year knocked off their original 11-year jail terms by three judges at the Court of Appeal in London on Friday.

Following a trial at the Old Bailey earlier this year they were acquitted of murder, but convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child.

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The pair had concocted a ''devious'' plan to get away with the abuse of 16-week-old daughter Imani which culminated in her death in September last year.

They were sentenced in May by Judge Nicholas Hilliard who described what happened on a London bus as a ''cynical charade''.

In the week before prematurely born Imani's death, Baker had moved from her mother's house in Colchester, Essex, into Wiltshire's bedsit in Newham, east London.

During that time, Imani, who was on the child protection register, was attacked three times. Her injuries included at least 40 rib fractures and her skull was fractured in a number of places.

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Wiltshire and Baker, who lived on benefits, attempted to hide what had happened by making it appear she had suddenly been taken ill on a bus, jurors heard.

Baker, who got on the number 25 bus to Stratford, east London, with their dead child in a sling, sought help from passengers claiming her daughter had suddenly stopped breathing.

Judge Hilliard said Imani's fatal head injuries were likened to those from a road crash or falling from a first-floor window.

Even though the jury could not be sure who was responsible, the judge said that given the extent of her injuries he had concluded that whoever had done it intended really serious bodily harm.

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Wiltshire and Baker successfully appealed against their sentences which were reduced to 10 years by Lord Justice Treacy, Mr Justice Jay and Mr Justice Warby.

Announcing the decision, Mr Justice Jay said: "This is a case with numerous aggravating features. Imani was defenceless and extremely vulnerable.

"Both appellants were in a position of trust towards her which they grossly abused."

A pre-sentence report on Wiltshire "stated that he was continuing to distance himself entirely from any culpability", while a report on Baker, said the judge, "stated that she minimised her responsibility for the offence and placed most of the blame on Wiltshire".

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In the court's judgment, the sentencing judge "gave insufficient weight to his finding that this was a case of constructive knowledge, albeit one which... was at the upper end of the spectrum of gravity applicable to such cases".

Mr Justice Jay added: "We are accordingly persuaded that the sentences he imposed were manifestly excessive."