Pilot jailed for murdering his 'smiling' daughter at luxury hotel

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·3-min read

A British commercial pilot has been jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of murdering his “smiling” daughter while he was drunk and high on drugs at a luxury hotel.

Airbus captain Mohamed Barakat, 42, “crushed the brains” and fractured the skull of one-year-old Sophia on October 24 last year by banging her head against a wall, a court in Kazakhstan ruled this week.

Shocking CCTV shows his wife Madina, 23, who had earlier told staff at the five star InterContinental Hotel in Almaty that her husband had beaten her, rush into the lobby while carrying the unconscious child.

The baby was “motionless” and “blue” in colour.

Madina and Mohamed on their wedding day. Source: East2West/Australscope
Airbus captain Mohamed Barakat, 42, “crushed the brains” and fractured the skull of one-year-old Sophia on October 24 last year by banging her head against a wall. Source: East2West/Australscope

Ten witnesses told how Madina claimed her husband had killed the child.

One hotel staffer said she shouted: “He killed my child, he hit her”.

A court statement issued by press secretary Abay Zharylkasyn said a maid had heard sounds of “banging on the wall, after which the crying of the child fell silent.”

The wife collapsed in the lobby several times as staff called medics, who confirmed Sophia was dead.

A receptionist told the court Sophia was “always smiling” after the family checked into the plush hotel.

London-born pilot claims he suffered an epileptic fit

Barakat received a maximum sentence under the criminal code because of the "aggravating circumstance” of committing the murder “in a state of alcoholic and drug intoxication”, the court statement said.

A judge rejected the London-born pilot’s claim that the child was fatally injured in an “accident” resulting from an “epileptic fit”.

The wounds were caused by “repeated impact with hard objects and surfaces, and could not be obtained from a fall”, judge Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev said.

Madina carrying an unconscious Sophia as she runs up to the hotel's front desk. Source: East2West/Australscope
Shocking CCTV shows his wife Madina, 23, rush into the lobby while carrying the unconscious child. Source: East2West/Australscope

There was “no evidence” Barakat had previously suffered from epilepsy, he said.

The dad, who denies ever hurting his daughter, was found to have a stash of cannabis in his hotel room.

Barakat - a pilot employed by a subsidiary of Hong Kong Airlines - looked stunned at the verdict in the Zoom trial and will serve his entire jail sentence in Kazakhstan jail.

On his release he will be banned from entering the country for five years.

Wife says she wants more children with husband

Madina wife was in tears, covering her face with her left palm, as she listened to the ruling.

She had earlier changed her testimony to call on the judge to find her husband not guilty, telling the trial she wanted to have more children with him.

“I have no claims against my spouse Mohamed Barakat,” she said.

“He could not hurt our child and moreover he was not capable of committing the crime. Mohamed is the most loving and caring husband and friend. I love him with all my heart.

Madina Barakat with her daughter Sophia. Source: East2West/Australscope
Madina wife was in tears, covering her face with her left palm, as she listened to the ruling. Source: East2West/Australscope

“You would probably think what kind of woman am I who protects her spouse who allegedly killed the child.

“However, this was not an intentional crime, he is not simply capable of causing harm, especially to Sophia.”

The murderer’s sister Sara said by video link from Britain that the pilot “must have suffered a seizure”.

“We have no doubts in our minds or in our hearts that he is innocent,” she said.

Will Stewart/Australscope

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