A 28-year-old mother accused of murdering her 14-month-old daughter has been cleared. Sadia Ahmed was accused of smothering her daughter Inaya with a pillow in April 2016.
Ahmed was found innocent by the jury at the High Court in Glasgow after just an hour of deliberation. According to the Daily Record, Ahmed was composed as the verdict was read, but appeared to be emotional as she left the court room.
Prosecutors claimed the mother "calmly snuffed out the life" of her toddler daughter, while the defence argued that the girl had choked on a piece of toast. Ahmed's defence attorney, Ian Duguid QC urged the jury to return a verdict of acquittal.
During the trial, Ahmed's family, including her husband Suleman, told the court how she confessed to killing Inaya. Noor Ahmed, the toddler's grandmother, claimed that her daughter-in-law had said she put her daughter to sleep "forever".
Several family members also admitted they lied to police about the death being an accident, the BBC reported. There were allegations that Ahmed's parents, who were in Pakistan at the time, initially pressured her in-laws to lie about the girl's death.
A relative called police and paramedics to the family's Drumchapel home around 11am on 17 April 2016. Paramedics found the little girl's face "turning blue" after relatives attempted to revive her.
Inaya was taken to the Royal Hospital for Children, where she died three days later. The court learned that the cause of death was irreversible brain damage as a result of a lack of blood and oxygen.
While charging the jury on Wednesday (8 November), Lord Matthews said the case rested on circumstantial evidence. "No crown witness has said they saw the accused putting the pillow over Inaya's face. The crown case is a circumstantial one," he said.
He added: "If it was a death caused by bread you will acquit. If you are not satisfied that the accused placed a pillow over her head and killed her that way then that's the end of the crown case."
Ahmed later gave a statement through her lawyer Aamer Anwar and said she "died" the day she lost her daughter and "nothing would ever take the pain away," the BBC reported.
"The short times I got to spend with my daughter Inaya will forever be the most cherished moments of my life," the statement said. "She passed away on the 20th of April last year at an age of just 14 months. The day she was born brought joy to my life, which had become full of such suffering since the day I was married.
"No one can imagine the pain of a mother losing her baby. I will never see her smile again or be able to hold her in my arms. The nightmare did not end with her death but continued with being accused of the most horrific crime possible - the murder of one's child, my Inaya."
She added: "I loved her more than anything in this world and always will."
The Ahmed family also released a statement, saying their lives had been "completely shattered" by Inaya's death. "After today's verdict, we will need to find a way to move forward, but Inaya will never be forgotten."