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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Consumed with jealousy over her ex-husband’s new lover sought terrible revenge
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: June 13, 2007
Date of birth: 1968
Victim profile: Davina, 16, and Jasmine Kumari-Baker, 13 (her daughters)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Stretham, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 33 years on September 22, 2009
photo gallery

Davina and Jasmine Kumari-Baker were murdered by their mother who stabbed them to death at their home in Stretham, Cambridgeshire while they slept in June 2007.

Rekha Kumari-Baker was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 33 years. The oldest daughter, aged 16, was killed first, with Kumari-Baker stabbing her 37 times. The younger daughter Jasmine, aged 13, was found dead in her bed stabbed 29 times.


Mother Rekha Kumari-Baker sentenced to 33 years for murders of children

Rekha Kumari-Baker, a mother found guilty of the ''brutal murder'' of her two daughters as they slept on their beds, has been sentenced to a minimum of 33 years in prison

September 23, 2009

Kumari-Baker, 41, stabbed Davina, 16, and Jasmine, 13, a total of 69 times with kitchen knives purchased two days earlier for £12 from ASDA especially for the task.

Both girls died from multiple stab wounds to the chest following the attack at around 2.30am on June 13 2007 in the family home in Stretham, Cambridgeshire.

During the trial the prosecution alleged Indian-born Kumari-Baker butchered the girls in a bid to ''destroy the happiness'' of her ex-husband David Baker, 45.

In a victim impact statement read out in court on Tuesday, he spoke of the "incalculable effect" the deaths had had on him.

He was a successful businessman and happy with another partner while she had quit her waitressing job and her relationship with local furniture-maker Jeff Powell was floundering.

He said: ''Even as I begin to write, I am aware that my words may not be sufficient to express the length and depth of the pain and the loss I feel.

''To have them taken from me in such a brutal way and by the woman who was their mother and charged with their care has had an incalculable effect on me.

''I suffer from strong feelings of guilt that I didn't see it coming and helplessness that I have not been able to do anything about it.

''I remain haunted by the horror of that night and probably will remain so for a very long time.

''Rekha Kumari always believed her children were an extension of herself, existing to further her own life ambitions.

''She tore them from us all and life can't be the same for those who remain. The ripple effects of their killings stretch out far indeed.

''Nothing will ever bring my girls back or undo this monstrous act. I will never see them again in this life though they live in my heart.''

Mr Baker said since the killings he struggled to sleep, had lost his job and been forced to move away from Cambridgeshire to a different location.

Dressed in black, Kumari-Baker remained expressionless and blinked occasionally as the sentence and victim impact statement were read out.

In mitigation defence counsel Richard Carey-Hughes QC urged the judge to consider the long years she would be forced to spend alone in custody.

He said: ''We still do not have an answer to the mystery that lies at the heart of this case.

''The note written at the time in which she talks of her love for these girls and the fact they will not suffer like her probably provides the most reliable clue.

''It is impossible to discern or identify any gratification that she might have derived from the brutality of this act.

''These will be long years for her. Times will be few indeed when she will not wish she had joined her daughters on that night.''

Having already spent two years and 92 days in custody Kumari-Baker will serve a further 30 years and 273 days in prison.

Speaking outside court after Monday's verdict Detective Inspector Jim McCrorie, who led the investigation for Cambridgeshire police, said the case was the worst he had ever seen.

He said: ''In 25 years of police service I have never before investigated such an upsetting and sickening crime.''

Following Monday's verdict it was revealed an inquiry was underway to examine roles played by teachers, doctors and social workers in the years leading up to the killings.

The serious case review is being conducted by the Cambridgeshire Local Safeguarding Children Board, which includes Cambridgeshire County Council, police and local NHS.

Board chairman Felicity Schofield said: ''The executive summary of the serious case review will be published by the Cambridgeshire Local Children Safeguarding Board when the review has been completed and evaluated by Ofsted.''


Mother who killed two daughters is jailed for minimum of 31 years as father speaks of 'the horror of that night'

By Andrew Levy -

22 September 2009

A mother who killed her two daughters in a frenzied knife attack to 'wreak havoc' on her ex-husband's happy life has been jailed today for a minimum of 31 years.

Rekha Kumari-Baker, 41, stabbed Davina, 16, and Jasmine, 13, a total of 69 times with kitchen knives she had purchased two days earlier.

Indian-born Kumari-Baker remained emotionless at Cambridge Crown Court as she was given an automatic life sentence and told she should not be eligible for parole until 2040, when she will be 72.

This is 33 years in total but takes into account the two years and 92 days she has spent on remand.

During her trial a court heard how she had become jealous of her former husband, David Baker, 44, a successful businessman who had found love with a new partner since their 2003 divorce.

Kumari-Baker, on the other hand, had just been ditched by her long-term lover, Jeff Powell, and had quit her waitressing job.

She had admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to an 'abnormality of the mind' and evidence was heard about how she had complained of suffering from depression.

But a jury took just 35 minutes to reach unanimous verdicts in two counts of murder.

'Most people will find it inexplicable that a mother could kill her own children, and you have given no explanation for it,' Mr Justice Bean told her.

'You were certainly upset at the breakdown of your relationship with Jeff Powell. I think this mild depression was probably combined with a wish to retaliate against David Baker and destroy the happiness in his life.

'You knew quite well what you were doing and you were not mentally ill. The crimes were, as the prosecution rightly put it, murder, full stop.'

The sisters were butchered in the small hours of June 13, 2007, as they slept in their rooms in Kumari-Baker's house in Stretham, Cambridgeshire.

Davina, who was often at loggerheads with her mother, was living with her father at the time but had been lured to the house by the offer of a shopping spree.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the girls' heartbroken father, who was too upset to attend the hearing, said since the killings he struggled to sleep, had lost his job, and been forced to move away from Cambridgeshire.

'To have them taken from me in such a brutal way and by the woman who was their mother and charged with their care has had an incalculable effect on me,' he said.

'I suffer from strong feelings of guilt that I didn't see it coming and helplessness that I have not been able to do anything about it.

'I remain haunted by the horror of that night and probably will remain so for a very long time.'

Rekha Kumari-Baker always believed her children were an extension of herself, existing to further her own life ambitions.

'She tore them from us all and life can't be the same for those who remain. The ripple effects of their killings stretch out far indeed.'

Speaking outside court after Monday's verdict, Detective Inspector Jim McCrorieof Cambridgeshire Police said the case was the worst he had seen in 25 years of service.

A serious case review was launched by Cambridgeshire Local Safeguarding Children Board after the killings to investigate whether the social services, teachers, doctors and police could have done anything to prevent the double tragedy.

In 2004, Kumari-Baker had told Davina in front of a teacher at Impington Village College near Cambridge: 'I wish you were dead.'

Staff at the school had told police Kumari-Baker was 'volatile, excitable, erratic and could become aggressive'.

And social services began monitoring the family after she complained of suffering from depression and was referred to a counsellor by a GP.

The reports conclusions have been postponed to take into account the court's findings.

Board chairman Felicity Schofield said: 'The executive summary of the serious case review will be published... when the review has been completed and evaluated by Ofsted.'


Daughter murders leads to review

September 21, 2009

Doctors, teachers and social workers involved with Rekha Kumari-Baker in the years leading up to the murder of her teenage daughters are to come under scrutiny in an inquiry.

Kumari-Baker, 41, was convicted of stabbing Davina and Jasmine Baker to death as they lay sleeping in her Cambridgeshire home in 2007.

The court heard how there were disagreements between Kumari-Baker and her ex-husband over the care and custody of the two girls.

The inquiry, launched following Kumari-Baker's conviction at Cambridge Crown Court, will look in detail at the involvement of individuals and agencies, and will highlight any lessons to be learnt in a report.

During the trial, it emerged that teachers at Davina's former school - Impington Village College - had held meetings with Kumari-Baker about their concerns for her daughter.

School vice-principal Stephanie Franklin told police Kumari-Baker had been "a volatile woman who frequently showed strange mood swings".

"I found her behaviour at times extremely erratic.

"I recall one particular meeting at the school where she was saying about Davina 'I wish she was dead'.

"During the meeting (Kumari-Baker) cried and got upset and said 'I don't want to see Davina again.'"

Jurors also heard on one occasion teachers concerned for Davina's welfare after she was taken out of school without permission, tracked her and her mother down to a local supermarket car park.

In 2003, Kumari-Baker's GP diagnosed her as having "reactive stress with mild depressive features" and referred her to a counsellor.

Social workers were called in to assess her home arrangements.

'Abnormal mood'

After the killings, psychiatrists examined Kumari-Baker and concluded she was not clinically depressed and was responsible for her actions when she killed her children.

Dr Hadrian Ball told the court he suspected she was suffering from a mild form of depression known as Mixed Anxiety Depressive Disorder, a common condition that did not require specialist intervention.

He said it could be brought on by troubled circumstances, of which Kumari-Baker had a number, including a marriage break-up, job loss and financial difficulties.

On the day of the murder, she was examined by an expert in depression who found no signs of mental illness, Dr Ball added.

However, another psychiatrist, called by Kumari-Baker's defence team, said he thought she had been in an "abnormal mood state" with a "serious neurotic illness".


Mother had 'depressive disorder'

September 16, 2009

A mother who stabbed her daughters to death at her home in Cambridgeshire was not psychiatrically "abnormal", Cambridge Crown Court has heard.

Psychiatrist Hadrian Ball said Rekha Kumari-Baker had been suffering from a common depressive disorder before she attacked the girls.

Davina Baker, 16, and Jasmine Baker, 13, were killed in Stretham in 2007.

Ms Kumari-Baker, 41, admits the killings but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Dr Ball said his favoured theory was that Ms Kumari-Baker was suffering from a condition known as "mixed anxiety-depressive disorder" (Madd).

Common disorder

He said such disorders were common and did not require specialist treatment.

Such a condition would also not be classified as "an abnormality of mind" and therefore meant that her responsibility for the killing was not "diminished", the court heard.

Dr Ball said: "Mixed anxiety depression disorder is very common in many, many people.

"It is not considered to be a form of mental disorder that warrants specialist intervention."

Dr Ball said evidence that Ms Kumari-Baker had suffered employment difficulties, the break-up of a relationship with a boyfriend and difficulties with Davina helped him reach the conclusion that she was suffering from Madd.

He told jurors that a psychiatrist who was an established expert in depression had examined Ms Kumari-Baker on the day she was arrested and found no evidence of depression.

The hearing continues.


Murder accused 'wished for havoc'

September 8, 2009

The father of two teenage girls allegedly murdered by the man's ex-wife has told a jury there was "friction" between her and his new girlfriend.

Rekha Kumari-Baker, 41, denies murdering 16-year-old Davina Baker and Jasmine Baker, 13, at her home in Stretham, Cambridgeshire, in June 2007.

Prosecutors at Cambridge Crown Court have said she wanted to "wreak havoc" on her ex-husband David Baker.

The jury heard she is mounting a defence of diminished responsibility.

It is expected she will argue that she was suffering from an abnormality of mind which would make her guilty of manslaughter but not murder, the court heard.

Disputes over children

Giving evidence, Mr Baker said relations with his ex-wife soured when he began dating his then girlfriend, Kadi Kone.

"She did not like Kadi," said Mr Baker, who divorced the defendant in 2004. "There was a lot of friction between them."

The court had previously heard there had been disputes over the children following the split and that Ms Kumari-Baker was concerned about the amount of time the children spent with Mr Baker's new partner.

Speaking about the last time he had seen his children, he said he had laughed with Davina about her uniform for her new job at Pizza Hut.

He said Jasmine had "come bounding upstairs the way she always did" and the girls then accompanied their mother on a trip to Lakeside shopping centre, a trip which the prosecution allege was to ensure the girls stay the night at Ms Kumari-Baker's home.

Davina usually spent weeknights at her father's house after Ms Kumari-Baker had "thrown her out", the court heard.

'Quiet and intellectual'

Mr Baker said that despite living apart the girls "got on together fantastically". "They had very different personalities," he said.

"Davina was feisty, outgoing and an extrovert. Jasmine was quiet and intellectual and sometimes lived in her sister's shadow."

Businessman Jeff Powell, who was in a relationship with the defendant after her marriage ended, told the jury she had been a "good mother".

He said her behaviour had become "oppressive" when he tried to end things between them shortly before the girls' deaths.

The court also heard from a police officer who was the first to go to Ms Kumari-Baker's home after the stabbings.

Det Sgt Jennifer Johnstone said the scene was all she could think about for a "considerable amount of time".

"She (Ms Kumari-Baker) was very calm, she was not upset, she was not crying and she was very quiet," she added.

The trial continues.


'Jealous mum killed daughters'

By Neil Syson -

September 7, 2009

A MUM consumed with jealousy over her ex-husband’s new lover sought terrible revenge — by killing their two teenage daughters, a court heard today.

Rekha Kumari-Baker, 41, crept into the girls' bedrooms at 2.30am to carry out a “frenzied” knife attack on Davina, 16, and Jasmine, 13.

She then calmly phoned policewoman pal Natalie Barford and told her: “I’ve done something terrible Natalie. I’ve killed the kids, the children are dead.

”It’s horrific. I stabbed them with knives from the kitchen. This is terrible - at least the children are safe now. No one else can hurt them.

”I’ve been thinking about it for days. I just woke up and decided I was going to do it there and then.”

Wearing a purple jumper with dark straggly hair Kumari-Baker looked distant at Cambridge Crown Court as she denied murder.

The Indian-born defendant admits manslaughter due to diminished responsibility at her home in Stretham, near Ely, Cambs, on June 13, 2007.

Prosecutor John Farmer told the court after her divorce from husband David Baker, 44, a tug of love developed between the couple over the girls.

Wild child Davina had a history of “unacceptable behaviour and turbulence” with her mother, as did Jasmine to a lesser degree.

In the months before the killings her relationship with a businessman called Geoff Powell floundered and she lost her job as a waitress. Meanwhile, ex-hubby David’s relationship with a new woman was going from strength to strength.

Mr Farmer said there was resentment as far as the defendant was concerned about that relationship.

She had particular concerns about the fact that her daughters were spending time in the same household as the woman.

He said: ”She was not very happy about how things were developing with her daughters, not very happy about her unemployment, not happy that her ex-husband was getting on well in his personal life.

”The relationship between her and Geoff Powell was deteriorating. A storm was accumulating. Her mind turned to killing their two daughters.”

Two days before the tragedy she purchased a set of new kitchen knives from Asda in Cambridge — then “softened up” the girls by taking them on a shopping spree to Lakeside 50 miles away in Essex.

Kumari-Baker postponed her plot for a day when she got an affectionate text message from Davina saying: “Thanks”.

Mr Farmer said: “It had not been well between her and her daughters. What better way of forming a bond to ensure they were in her house for the night and available to be killed than to take them out and give them a sense of wellbeing?

”She had not made a success of her life. What better way of ruining her ex-husband’s life, bearing in mind he was very fond of his daughters, than killing the girls?”

At 2.30am Kumari-Baker awoke and fetched the knives from downstairs.

Davina was stabbed 39 times all over her body. The jury was shown photographs of wounds inflicted as she desperately fought for her life.

Jasmine was stabbed fewer times as she did not wake up.

The defendant then went for two drives in her car, later telling police she intended to kill herself, though prosecutors say there was no evidence of attempted suicide.

When arrested, she told cops: “I killed my two beautiful daughters. Geoff hurt me. I love him so much.

“My kids will not be a burden to anyone any more.”

The jury was read a series of text messages in the weeks and days before the killings between her and Mr Powell after she had been dumped.

Many were in the early hours of the morning confessing undying love and pleading for him to reconsider.

On June 11 Kumari-Baker sent a text to Mr Powell — her lover for six-and-a-half years — saying it was the last time he would hear from her.

Mr Farmer said that after her arrest she was examined by two psychiatrists who concluded that there was no mental illness.

Three of Davina’s pals from Cambridge Regional College said in witness statements she was “getting on well” with her mother.

After the Lakeside trip the teenager sent her mother a text saying: “Thanks, I really enjoyed myself. I love you with all my heart and always will.”

The 16-year-old was awaiting her GCSE results and had just landed her first job as a waitress at Pizza Hut in Cambridge Leisure Centre.

Friend Stephanie Neal said when at college together they would regularly smoke outside, and spend Thursday evenings drinking alcohol.

She said she had to tell Davina not to get drunk as she had the rest of her life to do so.

She added: “Davina was very outgoing, always wanted to be on the go. She went to an X Factor audition and loved it.”

The trial is expected to last two weeks.


Daughters killed 'as they slept'

September 7, 2009

Rekha Kumari-Baker denies murdering her two daughtersA mother accused of murdering her two daughters at their Cambridgeshire home told a special constable: "I have killed the kids", a court has heard.

Rekha Kumari-Baker, 41, of Stretham, denies murdering Davina Baker, 16, and Jasmine Baker, 13, on 13 June 2007.

Cambridge Crown Court was told Ms Kumari-Baker killed the girls as they slept at home.

The judge, Mr Justice Bean, said the defence would argue she had "diminished responsibility" for the killings.

He said they would claim she was suffering from a "serious abnormality of mind" when the offences occurred.

Prosecutor John Farmer told the jury that Davina was stabbed 39 times in a "frenzied" attack.

Ms Kumari-Baker, a hotel worker, then attacked her younger daughter in similar fashion, he said.

Mr Farmer told the court that, after killing the children, she got dressed and twice went out in her car before ringing a friend to say: "I have done something terrible."

The court heard there was "much contention" between the defendant and her ex-husband over the care and custody of their children.

Jurors were told one theory was that Ms Kumari-Baker wanted to "wreak havoc" on her ex-husband by killing the girls.

Mr Farmer told jurors Ms Kumari-Baker bought the knife she used to kill her children at an Asda supermarket in Cambridge on 11 June 2007.

He said she had woken early on 13 June and then gone to the girls' bedrooms and murdered them.

After killing the girls, she got dressed, got into her car and drove towards nearby Ely, the prosecutor said.

Ms Kumari-Baker then returned to her home, "showered and cleaned herself up" then went out in her car again, he added.

Shortly before 0630 BST she telephoned a friend and special police constable Natalie Barford and left an answer-phone message saying: "I've done something terrible Natalie. Please call me."

Ms Barford went to the defendant's home and she was arrested.

Confession note

Mr Farmer said the breakdown of Ms Kumari-Baker's relationship with her partner, Jeff Powell, may have acted as a trigger for the attack.

"The end of the affair was a trigger to put into motion the mindset that was going to lead her to murdering her daughters."

He added that the defendant was "concerned" that her children were spending time with her ex-husband's new girlfriend Kadi Kone.

A note found at the home of the hotel worker following the discovery of the bodies, and signed "Rekha", read: "Sorry doesn't mean anything now.

"I've killed my two daughters. I did not want them to get hurt like I did.

"Jeff hurt me so much I cannot explain. He found it difficult to compromise at times but I loved him so much.

"My kids will not be a burden with anyone any more."



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