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Hythe mother Silipa Keresi (38) faces life sentence after being found guilty of murdering her newborn baby Miliki by abandoning him in woodland

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A HYTHE mother has been found guilty of the murder of her newborn baby by abandoning it in woodland in the village.

The jury foreman said the panel had been unanimous in their decision regarding Silipa Keresi (38), this afternoon (Tuesday) at Winchester Crown Court.

Judge Mr Justice Garnham said: "There is only one sentence available [to me] – which is life imprisonment."

CCTV showing Silipa Keresi on the morning the body of her baby was found in woodland
CCTV showing Silipa Keresi on the morning the body of her baby was found in woodland

However, he said he needed to hear from the prosecution and defence before handing down the final term, and he adjourned that for Friday. He remanded the defendant into custody.

As reported in the A&T, Silipa’s newborn baby Mailiki, was discovered dead wrapped in a white blanket in woodland close to Shore Road, Hythe, on 5th March 2020.

The prosecution outlined how CCTV captured the heavily pregnant Silipa, carrying the blanket from the Fountina Court Hotel – where she was living at the time – towards woodland, just before 5am on March 5th 2020.

In the months beforehand, Silipa had inquired about terminating Maliki with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).

The woodland off Shore Road in Hythe where the body of Maliki Keresi was found
The woodland off Shore Road in Hythe where the body of Maliki Keresi was found

But she got upset after being told she was 26 weeks pregnant – beyond the legal limit of 24 – and could not have a termination.

Afterwards, the prosecution added, she seemed reluctant to engage with agencies, failing to answer calls and having to be tracked down to the Fountain Court Hotel in Hythe where she was living.

In her defence, Silipa said her "mind was everywhere" around the time of the birth and her barrister, James Newton-Price, told the jury she was suffering "acute stress" around the time she was pregnant.

The court also heard allegations from Silipa that she was subjected to domestic violence by her husband, Dharma, whom she said she first met in 2002 and married in 2005, having known him for "two to three weeks".

Before giving birth to the couple's fourth child in 2012, she had inquired about a termination but decided against it, and a year later Dharma was arrested and charged with assaulting her after neighbours saw him hitting her with an "army belt".

But she later dropped her support for the prosecution as it put his army role in jeopardy and she said she had been "worried as to what would happen" without him, since she was “not sure I could survive” without him in the UK.

The family survived on little money and moved around a lot until Dharma left the army in September 2017 – which meant neither Silipa nor Dharma then had the automatic right to live or work in the UK, the court heard, and Dharma subsequently applied for himself to stay.

By the time she became pregnant with Maliki, they were living in a two-bed room at the Hythe hotel, for which the family paid £300 a week, using food banks and both working at the New Forest Laundrette – despite Silipa not having the right to be in or work in the UK.

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