Melbourne mum remanded in custody over alleged murder of baby daughter

A Melbourne woman who police say confessed to killing her 14-month-old daughter hasn’t appeared in court because of her mental state.

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Sofina Nikat, 22, was due to front the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with murdering Sanaya Sahib.

But the court heard health professionals had assessed Nikat in custody and were worried about her appearing.

Melb Mag Court: 22-yr old Sofina Nikat did not appear in court with concerns over her mental state @SBSNews

— Abby Dinham (@abbydinham) April 13, 2016

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Lawyer Michael McNamara said Nikat herself had asked not to appear in the court.

The risk of her self-harming was a “live issue” and it was believed she was already in protected custody, he said.

The brief hearing took place without Nikat and she was remanded in custody to reappear in August.

Nikat was charged on Tuesday with murdering her daughter and appeared in an out-of-sessions hearing.

In that hearing, Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey said Nikat had made “full admissions” in a police interview to killing her daughter.

Sanaya’s body was found in the Darebin Creek on Sunday less than 24 hours after Nikat had told police on Saturday her daughter had been snatched from her pram in a Heidelberg West park.

The toddler’s father, Sameer Sahib, told Channel 9 on Wednesday he last saw his daughter a week ago.

“She wanted to come in my lap, I just wish I brought her home with me,” he said.

“I’ve had to go and identify the body, I’d never think I’d do that in my whole life. Not for my own daughter.”

The toddler’s disappearance sparked a large search that included mounted police, the police airwing, SES volunteers and members of the public.

At the time Nikat told police a barefoot man of African appearance and smelling of alcohol had pushed her to the ground and snatched the toddler.

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

Nikat and her daughter had been staying with relatives in Heidelberg West after a separation between Nikat and Sanaya’s father, police had previously told reporters.

The court heard it was Nikat’s first time in custody, and she would be further assessed by mental health professionals while in prison.

CCTV footage related to the alleged crime will be formatted and telephone intercepts will be transcribed.

Social workers who worked with Nikat after her daughter’s death were in court for the brief hearing.

Bail was formally refused.