Mother “could have intervened” before three year old’s death; chose not to
In the closing strait of a trial that has frequently moved those giving, and hearing, evidence to tears, public prosecutors have called for maximum jail terms for all principal defendants over the truly horrendous death last year of a little girl called Jessica.
Ana Pinto, Justo Montes, Esmeralda Montes and Inês Sanches (Jessica’s mother) have all shown “a total absence of repentance (…) We cannot feel any empathy for the defendants”, said the public prosecutor who presented the case. “The only victim here is Jessica” – a child dubbed a ‘ghost’ when the horror of her ordeal hit the headlines, for the simple reason no one ever seemed to take any concern for her welfare, even though she was supposedly under the care of child protection services.
Ana Pinto, Justo Montes and Esmeralda Montes are all being judged for the crimes of qualified murder, kidnap, aggravated kidnap and aggravated coercion.
Inês Sanches is accused of the crimes of qualified murder and aggravated grievous bodily harm by omission. As prosecutors’ insist, she could have saved her daughter’s life, if only she had sought medical help earlier.
A 5th defendant in this trial, Eduardo Montes – the son of Ana Pinto and Justo Montes – is accused of the crime of aggravated rape, and the crime of aggravated drug trafficking.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office indictment states that during the five days that Jessica was held at Ana Pinto’s house as a guarantee of payment of a debt owed by her mother of €200 for alleged witchcraft practices, the girl was subjected to several episodes of violent ill-treatment and used as a drug courier.
Jessica was only returned to her mother at around 10am on June 20, 2022, at a time when she was no longer responsive to any stimuli.
The obvious signs of her suffering were ignored for several hours by the mother herself, a fact that the investigation considered may also have contributed to the child’s death, which occurred a few hours later at the Hospital de São Bernardo, in Setúbal.
Prosecutors admit that it hasn’t been possible to confirm which of the defendants inflicted (which) injuries to the child, but believe that even if some of them didn’t actively participate, they did nothing to stop the barbarity – and were therefore fully complicit.
Today’s final allegations continue.
Source: SIC Notícias