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WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: An alleged rape victim is on trial in Russia for hiding her unwanted baby daughter in a closet for six months, where she would have starved to death if her teenage brother had not secretly fed her.
The trial of Yulia Zykova got underway in the city of Karpinsk, in the Russian region of Sverdlovsk Oblast, on August 31.
According to news site Life, Yulia Zykova, 37, gave birth to baby Polina at her home in secret and kept her in a closet.
Zykova's oldest son Matvey, 13, reportedly fed the baby in secret so she would not starve to death, but never breathed a word to anybody about what was happening.
Matvey believed the child belonged to one of his mother’s friends and was shocked when the police told him she was his own sister.
The court heard the abuse was almost discovered earlier when, after seeing the baby in the closet, Zykova's three-year-old daughter Lera reportedly told everybody at her nursery school a living doll called Polina lived in her closet at home.
But nobody thought anything of it at the time and ignored her.
Polina was on the brink of starvation when Zykova's friend Olesya came to visit and heard strange noises coming from the closet.
Olesya found the baby girl in a deplorable state and challenged her friend who she said was drunk and refused to explain, according to Life.
The friend then called the emergency services who took the baby to a children's clinic, but her condition was so severe she was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the regional capital, Ekaterinburg.
Mum alleges she was raped by estranged husband
A criminal investigation was initiated against Zykova who allegedly told the police her estranged husband raped her and she did not want the baby, adding she did not keep her in the closet all the time.
As the mother's case gets underway, her lawyer, Sergey R, told local media: "The case is being considered behind closed doors. Yulia's life was tough, which led her to crime. We hope the verdict will be lawful, reasonable and fair."
The defendant's charges include child abuse and failure to properly care for a minor.
If convicted, Zykova faces up to seven years in prison.
Meanwhile, the baby is currently being looked after by her grandmother.
However, Zykova has since said she wanted to raise the girl herself.
The case continues.
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