The infant, who was named Jinayah just days before she nearly died at her father’s hand, is being treated at the Paediatric Ward of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mount Hope, where doctors have said she will require plastic surgery if she is to lead a normal life.
Her father, Jermour Noel, who has been dubbed everything from “monster” to “cannibal” by outraged Trinidadians, has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and is due to reappear in court on December 27.
The nightmare unfolded on Sunday 9th December 2012, when Noel arrived at his Smith Place, East Dry River, Port-of-Spain home, demanding food from baby Jinayah’s mother, 22-year-old Tineka Henry.
Tineka, who was lying on a bed in the small apartment with her newborn daughter asleep on her chest, directed the infant’s father to the kitchen, but he returned to the bedroom enraged, saying there was nothing there.
According to police reports, Jermour then started to push Tineka, who protectively clutched at her infant daughter as the man repeatedly shouted that he wanted food.
As the situation escalated, Noel snatched baby Jinayah and sank his teeth into her face, ripping off a chunk of flesh from the newborn’s left cheek. A mouthful of the baby’s flesh was later found on the floor by horrified investigating officers.
Noel then turned his teeth on the fleshy part of baby Jinayah’s right leg. The screams of the infant and her mother alerted baby Jinayah’s aunt, Marcia Guy, who rushed to the room to be greeted by the ghastly sight of her little niece’s gum and jaw exposed, with the cheek bitten off.
Guy seized the baby and ran downstairs, simultaneously shouting for the neighbours to call the police. She then dashed out of the house, pursued by Noel, and managed to evade him and jump into a car at Duke Street. Jinayah, bleeding profusely, was immediately rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.
Seasoned medical professionals at the hospital reportedly recoiled in disbelief when they saw the nature and extent of the baby’s injuries. As soon as little Jinayah was stabilised, she was transferred to the Paediatric Hospital at the EWMSC in Mount Hope.
Stout-hearted police officers were also reportedly aghast about the vicious attack.
“This is the worst that I have seen in all my long years as a policeman,” stated one of the investigating officers.