Woman sentenced for killing newborn baby

25 Jul 2016 13:20pm
KATIMA MULILO, 25 JUL (NAMPA) – A 21-year-old woman has been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment of which five were suspended for killing her newborn baby in January this year.
Sofia Iyambo was sentenced by magistrate Bongani Ndlovu in the Katima Mulilo Regional Court on Friday. Five years of the 12-year sentence was suspended on condition that she does not commit a similar crime while under review.
Iyambo, who was arrested on 07 January 2016 at Dairy informal settlement, initially faced charges of birth concealment after she indicated that she delivered a still-born baby girl in the shebeen where she was employed as a bar lady.
However, this charge was later changed to murder after an autopsy revealed the baby was at full term and died after being hit on the head and suffocated.
In her plea statement, Iyambo confessed that on 06 January 2016, she woke up with stomach pains and went to the toilet to relieve herself.
She said she went into labour and the child fell on the floor and hit its head on the floor.
“During all material times, I did not hit the child on the head but she was injured when she fell on the floor. I then suffocated her with a cloth... I did this intentionally so as to kill this baby,” she said.
The statement continues: “I believe that I killed this child when I put the cloth on her mouth and nose and suffocated her. She could not breathe….”
In January, Nampa reported that the baby, which weighed 3.2 kilogrammes, was found with the umbilical cord still intact.
The baby was wrapped in plastic bags and old clothes, and was hidden under a bed inside Iyambo’s makeshift bedroom in the shebeen.
She left the shebeen alone to seek medical help at the Katima Mulilo State Hospital.
At the hospital, Iyambo is said to have provided false information that she was suffering from heavy and irregular menstruation.
Upon medical examination by the doctors and nurses, it was however established that she had given birth or aborted a baby.
Iyambo then confessed that she had given birth to ‘something’ which she wrapped and hid behind her bed inside the shebeen.
Her medical records indicate that she used to visit the same hospital for different ailments but never for pregnancy check-ups.
In his sentencing, Ndlovu said mothers with unwanted babies must seek alternative solutions instead of killing or abandoning them.