West Midlands Police

'Faith healer' baby death sends parents to jail

Wed 11 Nov 2015
By Premier Journalist

Two parents are starting jail sentences, after taking their malnourished baby to a faith healer at their church, instead of a doctor.

Brian Kandare, 29, and Precious Kandare, 37, of Wednesfield, West Midlands, admitted the manslaughter of their eight-month-old daughter Rebecca.

Rebecca died from pneumonia at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton in January 2014.

A specialist said she had no trace of food or milk in her stomach, and Nottingham Crown Court heard she was suffering from the worst case of rickets one expert had seen in their 33 year career.

Her parents' church - the Apostolic Church of God in Wolverhampton - forbid its members from using modern medicine, and if anyone did receive NHS treatment they would have to be cleansed by prayer before being allowed back into church meetings, the court heard.

Instead, people were encouraged to consult the church midwife who was believed to have supernatural healing powers.

Days before Rebecca died her parents took her to the supposed 'faith healer' instead of a hospital.

Prosecuting, Jonas Hankin QC said: "Her illness was treatable and her death was preventable.

"It is highly unlikely that Rebecca would have died if she had been presented for medical care more than 24 hours before she collapsed.

"The stark reality of this case is that the defendants placed a higher value on adherence to the church's teachings than their daughter's welfare."

Nigel Lambert QC, mitigating for Mrs Kandare, said: "She knows that she chose the wrong course for the wrong reasons and such neglect was a significant cause in Rebecca's death and she will have to live with that."

Roger Smith QC, her husband's lawyer, said his client would "never forgive himself".

The court also heard Mrs Kandare was in the process of divorcing Mr Kandare.

It is unclear whether the Apostolic Church of God, which met in a converted garage in the garden of a house, is still a functioning congregation.

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