Brit pilot who crushed his ‘smiling’ baby’s brains in drunken hotel rampage is jailed for 20 years
AN EVIL British pilot who smashed his “smiling” baby’s brains in a drunken hotel rampage has been caged for 20 years.
Airbus captain Mohamed Barakat, 42, “crushed the brains” and fractured the skull of one-year-old Sophia by bashing her head against a wall, a court ruled in Kazakhstan.
Today the monster dad was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of murdering his baby while he was intoxicated by booze and drugs at a luxury hotel in Kazakhstan.
He had earlier beat his Kazakh wife Madina Abdullayeva, 23, during a row, the court heard during the trial.
A judge today rejected the London-born pilot’s claim that the child was fatally injured in an “accident” resulting from an “epileptic fit”.
Her fatal wounds were caused by “repeated impact with hard objects and surfaces, and could not be obtained from a fall”, said Judge Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev.
There was “no evidence” Barakat had previously suffered from epilepsy, he added.
Barakat looked stunned at the verdict held via Zoom at Almaty city court.
His wife was in tears, covering her face with her left palm, as she listened to the verdict.
She had earlier changed her testimony to call on the judge to find her British husband not guilty, telling the trial she wanted to have more children with him.
Barakat – a pilot employed by a subsidiary of Hong Kong Airlines – will serve his entire jail sentence in Kazakhstan jail, said the court authorities.
On his release he will be banned from entering the country for five years.
His guilt was proved “by the testimony of a witness – a maid who heard the sounds of banging on the wall, after which the crying of the child fell silent,” said a court statement issued by press secretary Abay Zharylkasyn.
Madina had earlier fled the hotel room after Barakat beat her, according to witnesses.
The maid went back inside and picked up the baby who was lying on the floor.
She then "carried the child unconscious in her arms”.
Shocking CCTV evidence showed how his wife carried the baby to the lobby of the five star InterContinental Hotel in Almaty in the early morning of 24 October last year.
Ten witnesses told how she claimed her husband had killed the child, said the judge.
The baby was “motionless” and “blue” in colour.
Madina had shouted: “He killed my child, he hit her,” according to one hotel staff member.
The wife several times collapsed in the lobby as staff called medics who found the baby to be dead.
A receptionist had recalled how baby Sophia was “always smiling” after the family checked into the plush hotel.
Barakat received a maximum sentence under the criminal code.
This was because of the "aggravating circumstance” of committing the murder “in a state of alcoholic and drug intoxication”, said the court statement.
The trial heard evidence that the Airbus captain – flying cargo planes at the time of the killing – had a secret stash of cannabis in his hotel room, and had previously taken cocaine.
He was given 15 days to appeal the conviction and sentence.
The pilot was also ordered to pay his wife £135 compensation, a sum that is likely to have been significantly higher if she had filed a civil suit against him.
Barakat had earlier told the court: “Just because you have the power to put me in prison, that doesn't mean you have the power to make me guilty.
“It means you will put an innocent man in prison.
“I would never hurt my own daughter.”
Barakat also said: “I was the first person who saw Sophia coming into this world.
“I was going to teach her how to fly.”
His legal team claimed dozens of procedural errors in the criminal investigation and the court case meant that Barakat did not receive a fair trial.
His lawyers made repeated attempts without success to seek a fresh investigation and replace the judge.
Reversing her previous testimony, Madina said: “I have no claims against my spouse Mohamed Barakat.
“He could not hurt our child and moreover he was not capable of committing the crime.
“I ask you to accept this statement as a basis for cancelling all the previous accusatory testimony made by me against my husband.
“Mohamed is the most loving and caring husband and friend.
“I love him with all my heart.”
She also pleaded: “You would probably think what kind of woman am I who protects her spouse who allegedly killed the child.
“However, this was not an intentional crime, he is not simply capable of causing harm, especially to Sophia.”
She also claimed that what happened at the hotel “could only be death by negligence during an epileptic seizure.
“Mohamed would not hesitate to give his life for Sophia.
“She was everything for him. It was an accident.”
In a startling new development, Barakat – who had pleaded not guilty – told the court in Almaty he had a long history of suffering from epilepsy.
He maintained that Sophia died in an “accident” in the hotel room when he suffered a “seizure”.
The murderer’s sister, Sara, said by video link from Britain that the pilot “must have suffered a seizure”.
She said: “We have no doubts in our minds or in our hearts that he is innocent.”
Barakat previously worked as a pilot for low cost Malaysian airline AirAsia.
Shocking CCTV footage captured the moment the child’s distraught mother carried her motionless baby into the hotel lobby, desperate for help.
The confronting video shows one-year-old Sophia Barakat being clutched by her mother.
Little Sophia – who was “always smiling” according to a witness who saw her before the tragedy – appeared “blue” and was ”not breathing".
Madina is seen pleading with the staff at the InterContinental Hotel in Almaty, Kazakhstan, before momentarily placing her little girl on the reception counter.
The distraught mother sinks to the floor and has to be helped up by a hotel security man, who had just called an ambulance.
Madina carries Sophia to a sofa in the hotel lobby, but collapses again on the floor.
The video finishes with a medic rushing to the child, who was soon afterwards pronounced dead.
Hotel staff said the Kazakh wife initially blamed her husband for Sophia’s death, shouting: “He killed my child, he hit her.”
Barakat claimed his epilepsy was known to doctors in Hong Kong and Malaysia involved in his medical checks as a pilot – despite the condition often being a reason for not granting a flying permit.
Barakat told judge Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev he had been prone to epileptic attacks since 1996-97, when he had been involved in a car accident in London.
I had a seizure. I don't remember anything about what happened to Sophia.
Questioned on Sophia’s “injuries from multiple impacts”, the pilot told the judge: “I had a seizure. I don't remember anything about what happened to Sophia.”
“You are asking me to give you information while I was in a seizure but I cannot give you any.”
The insisted there was “absolutely no possibility that I ever hurt a single hair on her head,” adding that conscious or unconscious, he would “never, ever hurt my own daughter.”
Barakat also denied being in a drunken rage following a night out or taking “illegal substances” after evidence had suggested he could have been on drugs during several days in Almaty between flights.
Evidence from his wife also suggested he had a stash of cannabis in his hotel room before the tragedy, although police found no evidence of this.
Barakat went on to allege that a senior police investigator attempted to bribe him, demanding $60,000 to switch the charge against him from murder to causing the child’s accidental death on on October 24, 2019.
The same detective had concluded the death was an "accident”, yet also reportedly demanded $1,000 in cash from Madina so she could speak to her husband in police detention, Barakat claimed.
He described the detective’s actions as “an absolute disgrace”.
Madina had rescinded her earlier statement and strongly denied blaming Barakat for killing their daughter.
She said: “I don’t believe my husband killed our daughter as there are no reasons and motives for this.”
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