British pilot loses bid to blame wife for ‘crushing daughter’s brain’

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A British captain on Tuesday lost an appeal against his conviction for the murder of his daughter, while a Kazakhstan court rejected his dramatic bid to blame his wife for the death of their baby.

Mohamed Barakat, 42, is facing 20 years in prison for ‘crushing the brain’ of British girl Sophia by hitting her head against a wall in a drink and drugs fueled in a five-star hotel.

The Airbus captain’s lawyers made a new claim in the Almaty appeal hearing that his wife Madina, 24, had committed perjury against her husband and should be treated as a suspect.

Mohamed Barakat, 42, (pictured with wife Madina, 24) lost an appeal against his conviction for murdering his daughter on Tuesday and is in a Kazakh prison for 20 years

Madina had told the court today that London-born Barakat was “the best husband and father in the world” who “never hurt me or Sofia,” and asked the court to overturn his conviction.

But Judge Lyudmila Bektemirova left the woman speechless when she asked if she understood her husband’s profession of claiming “that you killed your daughter, not him.”

Pale and shocked, Madina replied, “How is this possible at all?”

The three women judges rejected the appeal of Barakat, his wife and British sister Sarah Barakat to overturn the murder conviction in December.

“The guilt of the convict was proven by the testimony of a witness – a hotel maid – that she heard the sound of the pounding on the wall, which immediately brought the child’s crying to a halt,” the judges said.

“More than ten witnesses have stated that they saw the woman with the child in her arms, who ran to the reception and reported that her drunken husband had murdered her child.”

His lawyers claimed in the appeal in Almaty that Medina (above with murdered daughter Sophia) committed perjury against her husband and should be treated as a murder suspect

His lawyers claimed in the appeal in Almaty that Medina (above with murdered daughter Sophia) committed perjury against her husband and should be treated as a murder suspect

The judges rejected his claim that – as a commercial pilot with a Hong Kong Airlines subsidiary – he had epilepsy and fell on top of the child during a seizure.

Barakat was neither in person nor remotely present at the appeal hearing.

After the original sentencing in December, the pilot looked dumbfounded at the verdict in the Zoom trial, while his wife was in tears.

Madina had tried to overturn her testimony in the aftermath of the British child’s death involving her husband.

She claimed that Barakat killed Sophia in an “accident” and wanted to rebuild their lives.

Barakat will serve his entire prison sentence in Kazakhstan, judicial authorities said. After his release, he is denied access to the ex-Soviet state for five years.

The court ruled that Madina had been beaten by her husband and left their hotel room after which he killed the child.

The woman then opened the door and picked up the motionless girl, who rushed to the hotel lobby in the early morning of October 24, 2019.

Madina had shouted, “He killed my child, he hit her,” said a hotel worker.

The hotel staff said the baby was ‘blue’ and previously they remembered the girl as ‘always smiling’.

The woman collapsed in the lobby several times when staff called medics who discovered the baby was dead.

Madina later reversed her previous testimony and said, ‘I have no claims against my wife Mohamed Barakat.

“He could not hurt our child and besides, he was unable to commit the crime.

“ I ask that you accept this statement as the basis for canceling all previous incriminating testimony I have made against my husband …

Mohamed is the most loving and caring husband and friend. I love him with all my heart. ‘

The court said Madina had been beaten by Barakat and left their hotel room, after which he killed Sophia.  The woman then picked up the motionless girl and ran to the hotel lobby (photo)

The court said Madina had been beaten by Barakat and left their hotel room, after which he killed Sophia. The woman then picked up the motionless girl and ran to the hotel lobby (photo)

She pleaded, ‘You would probably think what kind of woman I am protecting her husband who allegedly killed the child.

“However, this was not a deliberate crime, he is not capable of causing harm, especially Sophia.”

What happened at the hotel “can only be death from negligence during an epileptic seizure,” she said.

Mohamed wouldn’t hesitate to give his life for Sophia. She was everything to him … It was an accident. ‘

Barakat was given a maximum sentence under the criminal code for the “ aggravating circumstance ” of committing the murder “ in a state of alcohol and drug intoxication, ” the statement said.

Madina (pictured on the wedding day) tried to annul her testimony in the aftermath of the child's death, implying her husband

Madina (pictured on the wedding day) tried to annul her testimony in the aftermath of the child’s death, implying her husband

He has described himself as ‘an innocent man in prison’.

In December, a Kazakh judge dismissed the London-born pilot’s claim that he fatally injured the child in an ‘accident’ while having a seizure.

Woman Madina who initially told hotel staff that he killed their daughter before changing her testimony to say it was an accident, cried when the first verdict was read.

His guilt was proved “by the testimony of a witness – a maid who heard the sound of the banging on the wall and the child’s crying came to a halt,” said a court statement previously issued by press secretary Abay Zharylkasyn.

Barakat was found guilty at the virtual hearing in Almaty court in December, with a baffled look at the verdict when he appeared on Zoom.

The wounds were caused by “repeated impact with hard objects and surfaces, and could not be obtained by a fall,” said Judge Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev at the time.

There was “no evidence” that Barakat had previously suffered from epilepsy, he said.

Evidence was heard during the trial that the Airbus captain – who was flying cargo planes at the time of the incident – had a secret stash of cannabis in his hotel room and had previously used cocaine.

The pilot was also ordered to pay his wife £ 135 in damages, an amount that would likely have been significantly higher had she brought a civil suit against him.

He was given 15 days to appeal the conviction and verdict.

Barakat is sentenced to 20 years in prison for 'crushing the brain' of British girl Sophia by hitting her head against a wall in a drink and drug-fueled frenzy at a five-star hotel (above, camera footage)

Barakat is sentenced to 20 years in prison for ‘crushing the brain’ of British girl Sophia by hitting her head against a wall in a drink and drug-fueled frenzy at a five-star hotel (above, camera footage)

Barakat had previously told the court, “Just because you have the power to put me in prison doesn’t mean you have the power to make me guilty.

“It means putting an innocent man in jail.”

He said, “I would never hurt my own daughter. I was the first to see Sophia come into the world … “I was going to teach her to fly …”

Barakat’s legal team claimed dozens of procedural errors in the criminal investigation, and the lawsuit meant that Barakat was denied a fair trial.

His lawyers repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to open new investigations and replace the judge.

The killer’s sister Sara said via video link from Britain that the pilot “must have had an attack.”

She said, “We have no doubts in our minds or hearts that he is innocent.”

Barakat previously worked as a pilot for the low-cost Malaysian airline AirAsia.

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