Father of murdered Melb girl devastated

The father of a 14-month-old baby girl who was murdered in Melbourne says he is devastated and shocked after his estranged wife allegedly confessed to killing their daughter.

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Sanaya Sahib’s 22-year-old mother, Sofina Nikat, is charged with murdering the toddler on Saturday – the same day she claimed a drunk African man had snatched the toddler from her pram.

Nikat was due to front the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday but was excused after her lawyer raised mental health concerns.

Sanaya’s body was found in the Darebin Creek on Sunday, less than 24 hours after her mother told police she’d been snatched from her pram in a Heidelberg West park.

Nikat had told police a man of African appearance, smelling of alcohol and wearing no shoes, pushed her to the ground before taking off with the toddler.

She said she gave chase but couldn’t catch him.

Nikat, of Mitcham, was charged with her daughter’s murder on Tuesday after which she fronted an out-of-sessions hearing.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey told the hearing Nikat had made “full admissions” to killing Sanaya in a police interview.

Mother and daughter had been staying with relatives in Heidelberg West after a separation between Nikat and Sanaya’s father.

Sameer Sahib last saw his daughter on the Thursday before she was reported missing.

“I just wish I’d bought her home with me,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

The father had joined the search for Sanaya when he was told her body had been found.

“I went looking for her … but I got there a bit too late,” Mr Sahib said.

“When they told me, I was devastated.”

Days after the trauma of identifying Sanaya’s body, Mr Sahib was then told his estranged wife had allegedly confessed to murdering the toddler.

“I couldn’t believe it, I just froze. How can a mother do something like that to her own child?” he said.

Since Sanaya’s death, tribute flowers, teddy bears and notes have been left near the creek where the little girl’s body was found.

Nikat is due to return to court in August.