Mum who ‘murdered and buried newborn’ was ‘distressed’ after seeking abortion too late

Silipa Keresi is accused of the murder of Maliki Keresi, having allegedly abandoned him wrapped in a bath towel in woodland near to her home in Hythe, New Forest, Hampshire, on March 5, 2020

A mum accused of murdering her newborn baby was “shocked and distressed” upon finding out she had sought an abortion too late into the pregnancy, a court has heard.

Silipa Keresi is accused of the murder of Maliki Keresi, having allegedly abandoned him wrapped in a bath towel in woodland near to her home in Hythe, New Forest, Hampshire, on March 5 2020.

Maliki was found at the foot of a tree in the blood-soaked covering by a dog walker who felt his ‘cold’ cheeks and called police.

The 38-year-old, from Fiji, faces an alternative charge at Winchester Crown Court of infanticide which states she was responsible for the death while her “mind was disturbed” following the birth.

The trial has heard that Keresi, who is married to a former Commonwealth soldier in the British Army, was stressed at the time of the alleged murder.

She had reportedly been midway through the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK, and was facing financial difficulties.

Jenni Manley, a midwife with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service – a charity which facilitates terminations – told the court that the defendant came for an appointment on November 19 2020.

She said that Keresi believed she was 12 to 14 weeks pregnant but an ultrasound scan showed she was at 26 weeks and five days, which is past the legal limit of 24 weeks for an abortion.

“She was very shocked,” Ms Manley said.

“I was talking to her the whole time explaining the findings. When I explained how many weeks she was, she got off the bed and wanted to leave.”

Describing the defendant’s reaction, she said it was “quite shocked” and said she looked to be distressed.

“I did explain to her it was very important that she was to seek antenatal care from her GP,” Ms Manley said. “She asked what her due date was, I quickly worked out it would be March 2020. She then left.”

Ms Manley said that she contacted the community midwife team and Keresi’s GP out of concern for her welfare.

The court has heard that several attempts were made by the midwife service to contact the defendant during her pregnancy, including a visit to her home, but she failed to attend appointments.

The trial also heard of how a post-mortem examination showed Maliki died within 24 hours of being born and would have suffered from hypothermia.

The tests found that Maliki had no abnormalities or injuries and the cause of death was given as “omission of care”.

After being traced following the discovery of the body, the defendant, who has two children living in the UK and two in Fiji, said that she was “in a bad situation and stressed with life”.

She had “snapped”, she said.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said the family were living in a hotel at the time and added: “She explained she tried to keep things good for her family but felt under a lot of pressure since her husband left the army.

“There was also an uncertain immigration status and she didn’t know what to do.”

Keresi, who worked at a launderette with her husband, Dharma Keresi, has denied both charges.

The trial now continues.