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'Now he's gone': Mother of baby Mustafa breaks silence over son's tragic death

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jun 2024, 8:56pm

'Now he's gone': Mother of baby Mustafa breaks silence over son's tragic death

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jun 2024, 8:56pm

The mother of baby Mustafa Ali, who died after suffering “violent, blunt-force trauma” at the home he shared with his parents, has broken her silence, saying her son was a “happy and adorable boy”.

The mother, who the Herald has decided not to name, took to social media this evening after her 10-month-old son was farewelled at a funeral in Te Kūiti today, five days after his death.

“I didn’t say much for him at his funeral because I didn’t have any courage to say much for him,” the mother wrote.

She explained the day baby Mustafa was born was the “[happiest] day of my life”.

She described him as a “happy and adorable boy” who was “strong and naughty” and also loved cartoons.

The mother said that in October last year, Mustafa moved to her parents’ place because of a “situation”, before moving back in with her and her partner in February “so that I [could] continue to be a mother again”.

“I was so excited ... for the future but now he’s gone, never [to] come back.

“I know you [are] gone but we [will] never forget you in our heart. I love and miss you so much my boy,” the post read.

It has been reported that Mustafa’s mother was at a party before the child was taken to hospital.

The mother thanks those who attended today’s funeral for their support and love.

Father says he couldn’t call ambulance for child as police had taken his phone

Speaking to Newshub tonight, Mustafa’s father, 22-year-old Mukzameel Ali said he was unable to call an ambulance for his sick child because police had taken his phone a month earlier.

Ali expressed sorrow at the loss of his son, saying he feels “very lonely”.

Ali alleges Mustafa choked while drinking a bottle of milk before he administered CPR to the baby. Ali was the only other person present at the Te Kūiti home.

“He choked while he was having his bottle of milk and I was so panic[ked], I don’t know what to do. Even I didn’t have my phone with me to call the ambulance or anything,” Ali told Newshub.

Police had allegedly taken his phone a month earlier in relation to another injury that baby Mustafa had suffered.

Asked if he had hurt the baby, Ali said no.

“I was trying my best to save my son ... Why would I hurt my son? He was my first son,” Ali said.

Mukzameel Ali holding baby Mustafa Maheir Mukzameel Ali, who police say died a violent death on Saturday, June 8.
Mukzameel Ali holding baby Mustafa Maheir Mukzameel Ali, who police say died a violent death on Saturday, June 8.

Ali said he felt “very lonely” and didn’t have any family to support him because they were “back home” in Fiji.

When asked about his relationship with the baby’s mother, Ali said: “Things have changed.”

“It’s very hard. I haven’t seen her for five days. Haven’t met, haven’t talked, anything. I’m just alone here at home.”

He said he didn’t know how to explain the circumstances surrounding Mustafa’s cause of death.

“He [Mustafa] was good, I see myself in him. He was just like me ... when I was a baby,” Ali said.

Blue and white flowers and balloons adorned the church where baby Mustafa Ali was farewelled.
Blue and white flowers and balloons adorned the church where baby Mustafa Ali was farewelled.

The funeral service for Mustafa was held at a Christian church where hymns were sung as part of the programme.

Garlands of white and blue balloons decorated the building entrance and a banner with his picture was on display inside.

About 100 people attended today’s service, many wearing T-shirts printed with Mustafa’s face.

His funeral followed a family service last night at their home.

The Herald understands Mustafa’s coffin was surrounded by blue and white balloons and he was dressed in a white suit, wearing a white beanie.

He lay on a blanket with a picture of a blue sky, complete with clouds and a rainbow.

About 100 people attended today's funeral for 10-month-old Mustafa Ali.
About 100 people attended today's funeral for 10-month-old Mustafa Ali.

A person with knowledge of the situation said the mother’s family had organised the wider funeral.

Things were tense, he told the Herald, but he hoped the funeral went smoothly for the sake of the baby.

He said the father was “still shocked” and had been trying to piece together what had happened.

”He’s sad, devastated.”

A homicide investigation into baby Mustafa Ali’s death is under way and police said on Tuesday an autopsy would take several days due to the extent of his injuries.

The child’s father told Stuff yesterday he may have caused some of the injuries that led to his infant son’s death while administering CPR.

He earlier denied any involvement in Mustafa’s death.

“There must be something else ... like, behind my back or something.”

His son could not breathe and was starting to choke, Ali said.

White balloons were tied to fences outside Te Kūiti homes as a community tribute to baby Mustafa. Photo / Mike Scott
White balloons were tied to fences outside Te Kūiti homes as a community tribute to baby Mustafa. Photo / Mike Scott

“So when I was giving him the CPR, that would’ve caused that injury to become more big and cause his death.

“The only thing I was doing – like, I was trying my best to save my son. That’s all I can say,” he said.

In an interview on Monday, Ali told Stuff he had started tapping on his son’s back and bottom to try to wake him.

“If that could’ve happened from me, from doing it ... but that wasn’t on purpose. I was trying to save him.”

Mustafa had been known to police due to previous “non-accidental” injuries.

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said police were notified around October and conducted a “number of reviews” into that incident.

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley is leading the homicide investigation. Photo / Mike Scott
Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley is leading the homicide investigation. Photo / Mike Scott

Pitkethley said he wanted to hear from anyone who “heard the screams from the home” on Saturday, the day Mustafa died.

Earlier, he said an initial examination showed Mustafa had suffered violent, blunt-force trauma.

“We believe these injuries were not accidental.”

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