A CRUEL father has been jailed for life for the horrific murder of his five-year-old son who was subjected to weeks of abuse before he finally died from severe head and abdominal injuries.
Ordering Pazeer Ahmed to serve a minimum of 19 years in prison, Mr Justice Coulson told him the mental and physical suffering he inflicted on his son Haroon Bhatti was” beyond imagination”.
Ahmed, 34 of Aberford Road, Wakefield, was unanimously found guilty by a jury yesterday at Leeds Crown Court of his son’s murder on January 23.
The judge told him: “Haroon’s suffering at your hands was truly appalling. Over the course of the three months during which he lived with you between November 2011 and January this year you inflicted 104 separate injuries or areas of injury upon him.”
His death finally resulted from a fractured skull after his head was struck against the bathroom wall and he was hit so hard in the abdomen it caused massive internal bleeding and damage. “It was a terrible attack on a defenceless child,” he said.
After his death doctors also found that Haroon had old fractures of the ribs, fingers and feet, part of one ear lobe missing, a mark on his leg where he had been burnt with an iron, injuries to his genitals and bite marks including four to his face where “you had bitten so hard you had penetrated the flesh of his cheek”.
A consultant in anaesthesia and pain medicine concluded the pattern of injuries over such a significant period would have caused the boy distress and impaired his ability to sleep, feed and function normally.
“In summary, the injuries would have resulted in obvious severe pain and extreme suffering over a protracted period,” he said.
Ahmed admitted his son’s manslaughter but denied murder, claiming diminished responsibility from post traumatic stress disorder.
The judge said the jury had been right to reject that “because on your own evidence you had repeated intervals when you came to your senses, you realised the harm you were doing to Haroon. You accept you had opportunities to take Haroon to a place of safety at your parents five minutes away but over the weeks and months you failed again and again to take that step.
“I conclude you knew what you were doing was wrong but for entirely selfish reasons you did nothing about it.”
He said that because Haroon was only five he was “particularly vulnerable to repeated attacks on him” which were a gross breach of trust by a parent.
Parts of the trial were heard in secret, including Ahmed’s evidence, after the prosecution claimed sensitive material needed to be heard and following the verdict the judge warned jurors never to talk about the case.
Ahmed had sole care of Haroon after bringing him from Pakistan where he had been living with his mother from whom Ahmed was separated. He said he never told his family about his mental problems and his violence towards his son.
Howard Godfrey QC, representing him, said much of the time Ahmed lived like a “hermit” with his son whom he had loved but to whom he reacted under stress. He urged the judge to bear in mind Ahmed’s past public service to his country.
The boy’s mother described in a statement feeling devastated when she heard of Haroon’s death. “His age was for playing, not to be put through such torture,” she said.