A mother has been cleared of murdering her 14-month-old daughter.
The charge that Sadia Ahmed, 28, smothered toddler Inaya with a pillow at their home in Drumchapel, Glasgow, on 17 April 2016 was found not proven.
Mrs Ahmed had told jurors at the High Court in Glasgow that her daughter choked on a piece of toast.
Members of the Ahmed family – including the murder accused’s husband Suleman – claimed she confessed to them that she had killed Inaya.
The child’s grandmother Noor Ahmed claimed her daughter-in-law Sadia Ahmed said she had put the little girl to sleep “forever”.
But several family members also admitted they had lied to police about the death being an accident when officers had been called to investigate the incident.
There were also allegations that Mrs Ahmed’s parents, who had been in Pakistan at the time, had initially put pressure on her in-laws to lie about Inaya’s death.
After a 21-day trial, the jury returned within 90 minutes to say they had found the case against Mrs Ahmed not proven.
The court had heard that a large extended family lived in the six-bedroom Drumchapel home.
A member of the family called police and paramedics to the house around 11:00 on 17 April last year.
They found the toddler’s face “turning blue” after attempts by relatives to revive her.
Inaya was taken to the Royal Hospital for Children and died there on 20 April.
What is the not proven verdict?
- Scotland, unlike most of the world’s legal systems, has three possible verdicts in criminal cases – guilty, not guilty and not proven
- The legal implications of a not proven verdict are the same as with a not guilty verdict: the accused is acquitted and is innocent in the eyes of the law
- Not proven is seen by some as offering additional protection to the accused
- But critics argue that it is confusing for juries and the public, can stigmatise an accused person and fail to provide closure for victims
- Scottish juries were historically able to return only proven or not proven verdicts
- A third verdict of not guilty was introduced in the 1700s and became more commonly used than not proven
- However, the option of returning a verdict of not proven was never removed
- In more recent years, the general perception has been that a “not proven” verdict suggests a sheriff or jury believes the accused is guilty, but does not have sufficient evidence to convict