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Hythe mum Silipa Keresi on trial accused of murdering her newborn baby who was found in woodland near Shore Road

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A HYTHE mother has gone on trial after the body of her dead newborn baby was found in woodland.

Silipa Keresi (37), has pleaded not guilty to murdering Maliki Keresi or an alternative charge of causing infanticide, and appeared before Winchester Crown Court this morning (Tuesday).

Opening the prosecution case, Kerry Maylin said dogwalker Michael Dorsett found Maliki on the afternoon of 5th March 2020 at “the base of a tree” in woodland close to Shore Road in Hythe.

Police at the scene
Police at the scene

“He gently put his fingers on the right cheek of the baby and could feel it was cold, and there was no reaction from the baby,” she said, adding that it had been raining the previous night.

Mr Dorsett called police who cordoned off the area and found the baby still had the umbilical chord attached.

The force launched an appeal to find the mother and was contacted by community nurse Lorraine Johnson, who had been involved with Keresi in 2012.

Mrs Maylin explained in 2012 Keresi had been flagged as a “late pregnancy” as she had given birth at home, while living at Marchwood.

At that time services had noted her husband was a serving Commonwealth soldier and she had two children in the UK and two living in Fiji.

While she was subsequently in hospital, Keresi was also seen to pick up a leaflet about getting help for domestic violence, and she was referred to aid services.

In November 2019, Mrs Maylin continued, Keresi reported to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) saying she was pregnant with Maliki and seeking a termination.

However, the nurse who saw her, Jenny Manley, performed a scan and estimated she was 26 weeks' pregnant.

That shocked Keresi, who believed she was only 12 weeks' pregnant. Keresi became “distressed”, the court heard, after Mrs Manley said she could not have a termination since she was beyond the gestation period of 24 weeks.

Keresi ended the meeting prematurely and “hurried” out. The concerned nurse later tracked down Keresi’s GP and made enquiries.

Several other agencies became involved and begin trying to trace her, with a children’s services nurse and a nurse from a specialist team making several unanswered calls to her.

They also went to the address Keresi had given BPAS, at Laburnum Close in Hythe, but eventually found Keresi was not living there.

They also went to a previous address where Keresi had lived and after finding it was unoccupied, referred the case to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

In early February 2020 Keresi reported to her GP in Hythe, where she had a scan and was referred to as an emergency case.

But further contact was limited and in mid-February, the MASH team found Keresi was living at the Fountain Court Hotel in Hythe, which they visited, only to be told Keresi was not in.

Keresi later sent an email complaining that nurses had attended the hotel, the court heard, and she also insisted to staff that she was not pregnant but was experiencing back and bloating problems.

Upon the discovery of the baby's body, nurse Mrs Johnson called police and said Keresi was likely the mother, the prosecutor outlined.

“Lorraine Johnson was concerned that the mother police were looking for was Silipa Keresi,” Mrs Maylin said.

“She was aware Silipa Keresi had not engaged with services during the currency of her pregnancy, had previously given birth without medical assistance and, of course, she knew that Keresi had desired in November 2019 to terminate the pregnancy.”

The trial is expected to last up to a fortnight.

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