Our thanks to Nicola for this in today’s Times:
A teenage mother has admitted starving her 20-month-old daughter to death while she spent six days celebrating her 18th birthday.
Verphy Kudi left baby Asiah in a supported housing block in Brighton with no food or water for days as she partied in London, Coventry and Solihull, in the West Midlands, more than 150 miles away.
Kudi, now 19, was seen on CCTV leaving her Brighton flat on December 5, 2019, on her 18th birthday and did not return until December 11 when she found her baby dead.
A post-mortem examination and forensic tests found that Asiah starved, was dehydrated and developed flu. Her cause of death was given as neglect.
At Lewes crown court, Kudi entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter of her daughter between December 4 and 12, 2019, as she spoke only to confirm her name and enter the guilty plea.
She held her hands to her face after the charge of manslaughter was read to her. Wearing a plain black top and black trousers with a blue face-mask, she wiped a tear from eye as her father looked on from the public gallery.
Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership has launched a serious case review after Asiah’s death. The baby was under a child protection plan but there was no social worker assigned when she died. Kudi’s flat was one of eight in a housing complex run by YMCA DownsLink to house vulnerable young families on behalf of Brighton city council.
YMCA DownsLink staff are located at the entrance to the complex at all times but the charity said the flats themselves are independent units so are not regularly inspected.
Asiah was born on March 22, 2018. She had been living at the flat in Brighton with her mother since September 30, 2019.
On December 11 at around 6pm, Kudi dialled 999 to say that her baby would not wake up. Asiah was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton.
Police were later called in by staff at the mother and baby unit after they reviewed CCTV footage a few days later.
Cameras showed Kudi leaving the building on December 5 at shortly after 5.30pm and returning on December 11.
Data gathered by Sussex police revealed Kudi had been at parties in London, Coventry and Solihull.
During the hearing, Muba Kudi, 59, Verphy Kudi’s father, sat with his arms crossed throughout the short hearing at Lewes Crown Court.
Speaking after the hearing, he said: “My heart is so broken. My daughter was missing. She had been missing since the age of 14.”
Judge Christine Laing, QC, told Kudi she will be sentenced in May.
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