Insurance Executive Goes On Trial For Death Of Two-Year-Old Daughter

LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – A 36 year-old insurance executive who killed his two-year-old daughter was brought to trial today, Friday (11/1/08).

Alberto Izaga (03.05.71- 36ys), a Spanish national, appeared at CCC, charged with the murder of Yanire Izaga at their home on the Albert Embankment, SE1, on 3 June 2007.

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury was invited to return a ‘special verdict’ and his plea was accepted. He has been detained under section 37 of the Mental Health Act into psychiatric care with restrictions under Section 41 MHA (without a limit on time).

It follows an investigation by the Major Investigation Team of the MPS Child Abuse Investigation Command.

The court heard that three expert psychiatric reports found Mr Izaga was suffering from a psychotic episode when he attacked his daughter early in the morning of Sunday 3 June.

Emergency services were called to their flat and found the little girl unconscious. She was taken to St Thomas’s Hospital where she sadly died on Tuesday 5 June.

A post mortem on Yanire showed she died from a head injury. Her skull was fractured and her brain damaged during the attack.

The only witness was her mother, Ligia Izaga. She said her husband woke her up about 4.30 am that morning and began to talk incessantly, for over two hours. This was not like him and she urged him to get some sleep.

Mr Izaga, a director for the banking firm Swiss Re, had returned the previous day from a business trip to Geneva. He told his wife he had not slept for three days. He appeared to think there were people after him and was asking her if she believed in God.

At around 6.00am, Mrs Izaga mentioned their daughter and he went into Yanire’s room, grabbed her out of the cot, and began to shake her. Mrs Izaga tried to calm him down by suggesting breakfast but he refused. She tried to get out through the front door saying they all needed fresh air. But he refused and they went instead into the TV room where he would not let go of Yanire.

As his wife tried to talk to him, his behaviour continued and he began to hit her in the back. When he gradually calmed down, she tried to get Yanire out of the room but Alberto held them both back.

At this point, he began to hit Yanire, ignoring his wife’s screams. She had earlier picked up her mobile and now pressed a speed dial button to some friends who lived nearby. She left the phone on so that the person being called could hear what was happening in the flat.

Mr Izaga had his back turned but his wife saw his fist in the mirror and could see he was hitting Yanire. He was quiet one moment and shouting the next, in Spanish. Mrs Izaga tried to call emergency services but in her anxiety, dialled the number used in the US where she was brought up instead of 999.

She heard the phone ring in the living room, then the doorbell and suddenly their friend was in the room. Emergency services were called and at 8.30am the child was rushed to hospital. Sadly, she died on Tuesday 5 June.

DI Colin Burgess who led the investigation said today: “All cases of child death are a tragedy. In this case, we have heard about the happy, contented family life of Alberto Izaga and his love for his little girl, every bit the doting dad.

“In a scene no-one could possibly have predicted, Mr Izaga attacked his daughter so badly she did not recover, despite urgent attention at hospital. We have heard experts tell us that Mr Izaga was truly and legally insane at the time. It is not known if he will ever regain his full health.

“The nightmare of that scene will forever haunt his wife who was the sole witness and found herself unable to do what she felt was her responsibility, to save her daughter.

“The trauma and sadness extends also to the wider family networks and close friends involved, all of whom have been entirely supportive of Mr Izaga.

“We do not for one minute think any of these people will forget the little girl at the centre of this tragedy. Our job in the Child Abuse Investigation Command major investigation team is to uphold that child’s interest.

“She had a right to life and to safety within her family. That was taken away from her and the injustice of her death has rightly been heard by a jury”.

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