Pictured: Girl, 11, who died ‘after neighbour tried to eliminate bedbugs and poisonous gas drifted into her home’
By Rebecca Camber Crime And Security Editor
19:24 17 Jan 2024, updated 19:24 17 Jan 2024
A girl of 11 who died when a poisonous chemical allegedly used by a neighbour to tackle bedbugs drifted into her home was named yesterday for the first time.
Fatiha Sabrin was poisoned when a neighbour allegedly scattered toxic chemical pellets around her flat in Shadwell, east London, in a bid to tackle an infestation of bed bugs.
Yesterday the schoolgirl at the centre of the extraordinary poisoning case was named for the first time after a judge lifted reporting restrictions in a victory for open justice.
The ruling came after her alleged killer Jesmin Akter, 33, denied manslaughter and importing a regulated substance from Italy, namely aluminium phosphide which she is said to have used to eradicate the pest known to be rife in the block of flats.
Experts believe moisture activated the dangerous gas phosphine from the pellets which travelled to to the apartment above Akter’s flat, poisoning the schoolgirl who went into cardiac arrest.
She died shortly afterwards in hospital on December 11, 2021, just a day after her 11th birthday.
Weeks after she died, it emerged that the victim’s autobiographical poem had been recognised by judges of a national writing competition.
Nishat Tasnim Disha, Fatiha’s mother’s cousin, known to Fatiha as an aunt, said the little girl had dreamed of becoming a doctor.
She said: ‘Fatiha was such a brilliant and happy child, exceptionally kind and always curious to learn.
‘I don’t have words to say for such a tragic loss.’
When her alleged killer was charged, magistrates made an order preventing the child’s name from being reported at Thames Magistrates’ Court last August.
Yesterday Judge Simon Mayo said the order under Section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 was invalid as it cannot apply to children who have died.
The judge said: ‘It is a pity that the matter was not dealt with at that stage because the matter, namely reporting restrictions, engages important principles of wide public importance and there is accompanying that a need to deal with applications relating to the nature and extent of those at the earliest opportunity.
‘Clearly there was a missed opportunity to do that at the magistrates’ court.’
He added: ‘Open justice is a principle of fundamental importance – it really does lie close to the heart and functioning of these courts and thus a democratic society and should be treated appropriately.’
Last week Akter denied manslaughter and importing a regulated substance without a licence on November 26, 2021.
She remains on bail ahead of her three-week trial on July 1.