Halifax man gets 6½ years for baby daughter's death

A man found guilty in the beating death of his seven-week-old daughter was sentenced today in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to 6½ years for manslaughter.

After accounting for the time he has spent in jail awaiting trial, Ashiqur Rahman will serve four years and three months.

Before his sentencing Tuesday, Rahman said, "I am sorry for failing to save my daughter," but he said he tried to do so when he became aware there was a problem.

"I can only take responsibility for my actions, and so I maintain my innocence," he said.

Rahman was found guilty by Justice Felix Cacchione of manslaughter and aggravated assault in the death three years ago of Aurora Breakthrough, in a case that saw his wife testify against him. The sentence for the aggravated assault charge was stayed in court today.

During Rahman's trial in June, the baby's mother, Jane Gomes, said she saw Rahman slap and shake Aurora because the baby wouldn't stop crying.

Gomes was also charged in the case and pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life for baby Aurora.

She received a conditional sentence and six months of probation.

Gomes was not in court for the sentencing. In a victim-impact statement read by Crown attorney Denise Smith, Gomes said she made a "grave mistake in trusting Ashiqur."

Gomes said of Aurora, "I have dreams about her often, mostly happy, sometimes frightening."

"Then I wake up to the reality — she is dead, my chances are already gone. There is nothing to be hopeful for."

Aurora Breakthrough was seven weeks old when she died in hospital in July 2009. She had a broken arm and leg, and most of her ribs were broken. The bones were in various stages of healing, indicating they had been broken at various points in her short life.

She had also suffered blunt force trauma to her head, and her brain was so severely injured that parts of it were liquefied by the time she died.

"I urge all sensible humans out there to not take their anger or frustration out on a child," said a victim impact statement by Gomes.

Gomes had testified her husband was frustrated and angry over the $6,000 hospital bill for Aurora's delivery.

The couple, both from Bangladesh, met at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S.

Gomes was educated in an all-girls Catholic school, and had an upbringing that was described to the court as sheltered.

She hid the relationship from her family, along with the fact that she and Rahman dropped out of school and moved to a rooming house on Gottingen Street in Halifax.

Rahman paid little attention to his daughter, Gomes testified, and instead spent his time trying to start web-based businesses.

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