true crime

Mother of Sanaya Sahib confesses to the murder of her daughter, police say.

Detectives have confirmed that Sofina Nikat, the 22-year-old mother of Sanaya Sahib, has been charged with the murder of her daughter. Ms Nikat reportedly confessed in full to the murder. She has been remanded in custody and will appear in court again next week.

At an out-of-session court hearing this evening, the justice asked her if she was being looked after properly, to which she replied “yeah, yeah”.

She did not speak for the rest of the hearing.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Kelly Grindley said investigators are not looking for anyone else in relation to the murder.

Channel 7 is reporting that police have obtained CCTV footage of Nikat pushing a pram towards Darebin Creek on Saturday morning with the infant visible in the pram, and then returning from the creek with the pram empty.

Sofina Nikat told police she was walking along a bike path at Olympic Park Reserve in Melbourne around 10am Saturday when a man violently shoved her to the ground and snatched Sanaya from her pram.

Ms Nikat, currently the sole witness to the abduction, described the kidnapper as being of African appearance, roughly 180cm tall with short dark hair and aged between 20 and 30. She also claimed he was not wearing shoes and smelled strongly of alcohol.

Ms Nikat told police she had tried to chase the man, but he managed to flee across a nearby footbridge towards Northland Shopping Centre.

About 3am on Sunday, roughly 17 hours after her abduction, the 15-month-old’s body was found by locals in Darebin Creek in Heidelberg West.

A family, motivated by memories of their own missing child to take part in the search, made the heartbreaking discovery.

Detail was revealed overnight about the “dysfunctional” environment in which Sanaya was being raised (you can read more about that here).

The toddler’s mother was said to be in a “hysterical state of mind” after the child was killed.

ADVERTISEMENT

More to come.

Relatives of murdered Melbourne toddler Sanaya Sahib have lashed out at media stationed outside their Heidelberg West home.

The outburst comes on the back of media reports that Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services had concerns about the safety of one of Sanaya‘s relatives in the months prior to the toddler’s death.

According to The Age, Sanaya’s cousin Irfaaz Ali had to be restrained by his father Habib Ali this afternoon after he gestured at and verbally threatened a photographer who was taking pictures from the other side of the road.

Habib then turned to the gathered journalists and told them that the recent newspaper reports were “full of bullshit”.

Fairfax media is unable to identify the relative whose safety was of concern to authorities. The DHHS has declined to comment.

Ms Nikat being escorted to a safe house. Via ABC News.

Sanaya Sahib and her mother Sofina Nikat had been staying at Habib Ali's home at the time of the 15-month-old's alleged abduction,  as they  were reportedly seeking shelter following the recent breakdown of Ms Nikat's marriage.

Little Sanaya's body was found in the early hours of Sunday morning, partially submerged in nearby Darebin Creek. An autopsy suggests that the toddler was smothered to death.

As reported earlier, it has been revealed that an ambulance was called to Habib Ali's home on April 3 after Sanaya suffered a seizure. According to The Herald Sun, paramedics aired concerns the seizure was triggered because the toddler had been smothered, causing her to fit due to a lack of oxygen.

Anyone with information relating to Sanaya Sahib's death are urged to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

00:00 / ???