A probe into the death of an 11-year-old girl has heard how her half-brother sent a series of texts claiming he had ‘punched her in the head’ and ‘killed’ her.
Falaq Babar died in hospital in March last year just three weeks after suffering an injury while in the bathroom of her home. An inquest into her death is taking place at Rochdale Cornoners’ Court this week.
Her older half-sibling, Suhail Mohammed, told the hearing that Falaq had been hurt after he ‘barged’ open the bathroom door. But the series of text messages, uncovered by police, revealed a different version of events that he had relayed to his partner.
He told the court he had heard the sound of Falaq 'bickering' with a younger brother who wanted to get in the bathroom, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Mr Mohammed told coroner Joanne Kearsley that he didn't know why Falaq didn't want her younger brother to come in, but he did not think the door was locked. "I've tried opening the door," he said. "I used quite a bit of force. As I used the force, Falaq was on the other side of the door."
Mr Mohammed suggested the door may have been stuck due to 'dampness'. He described 'barging' it once with his 'shoulder and elbow', although he had previously told police he barged it twice, the court heard.
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Falaq was 'on the floor' between the radiator and the floor when Mr Mohammed saw her inside after opening the door, he told the court. Mr Mohammed said: "I helped her up and she goes into her room." The court heard Falaq went 'in and out of consciousness' and started being sick.
Mr Mohammed called for an ambulance using his mum's phone, telling the call handler Falaq had 'slipped'. Yet that same morning, he gave a different story to his girlfriend, Sahar Fiaz.
Coroner Ms Kearsley read a series of messages which were sent on the morning of February 20 last year, from 10.44am, between Mr Mohammed and Ms Fiaz. Beginning the text conversation, he wrote: "I've killed Falaq."
Ms Fiaz replied: "What do you mean?" Suhail responded: "I've punched her in the head." Ms Fiaz asked him: "Why? Is she OK? Why are you hitting her?" Suhail replied with 'IDEK', which the court was told meant 'I don't even know'.
Having read the messages, Ms Kearsley asked Mr Mohammed a series of questions about the exchange. Among the questions, Ms Kearsley asked Mr Mohammed if he punched her, if he punched her in the side of her head and if he 'might have considered it a mild punch'.
She also asked him if he had discussed the texts with anyone, and also: "At the point the ambulance service are treating Falaq, why would you be sending text messages to anybody giving an alternative version of events?"
Mr Mohammed declined to answer the questions on his messages to Ms Fiaz. Ms Kearsley also asked Naveed Babar, Falaq's father, if he had asked Mr Mohammed why he sent a message saying he had punched his daughter.
Mr Babar replied: "I did not." Falaq's dad was also shown images of damage to the bathroom door, taken on February 20. He said the damage was not there when he left the house earlier in the morning.
But in a statement to police, Mr Mohammed said the damage had been present since the previous New Year's Eve. Asked by Ms Kearsley why he said this, Mr Mohammed replied: "Because I panicked... because I felt a sense of guilt for me opening the door and [Falaq] falling."
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News earlier this year, mum Shazia Bi said: "How lucky we were to have Falaq in our lives for a short time, but she has left us with so many memories and love. We all cherished her, and she will always stay in our hearts and thoughts forever.
"Mum, dad, and brother will never forget you. We as a family cannot come to terms with the loss of such a beautiful soul. We love you, Falaq."
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