Couple admit manslaughter of starved girl

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A couple accused of starving a seven-year-old girl to death admitted her manslaughter today.

Junaid Abuhamza and Angela Gordon entered the pleas in the fourth week of a murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court over the death of Khyra Ishaq.



Gordon's daughter Khyra died on May 17 2008 after being taken to hospital from the defendants' home in Leyton Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, in an emaciated condition.



Both defendants told the jury they denied murder but admitted manslaughter.



Abuhamza's plea was accepted and he was found guilty of manslaughter by the jury, after direction from the judge, Mr Justice Roderick Evans.



The prosecution did not accept Gordon's plea and she remains on trial for murder.



Abuhamza, 30, who pleaded guilty to five cruelty charges at an earlier hearing, will be sentenced at the end of the trial.



Prosecutor Timothy Raggatt QC told the court: "In the case of Junaid Abuhamza, the Crown has come to the decision not to proceed further because in the light of the medical evidence as to his mental health that has emerged during this trial, we no longer seek a verdict in this case.

"As far as Angela Gordon is concerned, the matters remain for the jury's ultimate decision."



Khyra Ishaq died after succumbing to an infection.

Earlier in the trial, Mr Raggatt told jurors that she was so emaciated at the time of her death that her condition was outside the experience of medical professionals.



The QC told the court: "The infection that brought about Khyra's death was one that was caused, and wholly caused, as a result of one thing - for months, quite literally months, she had been starved."



Last week, Abuhamza told jurors he blamed himself for her death and felt "like a failure".



He said he hadn't noticed how thin she had become, adding: "With all that was going on in the house, I couldn't see what was going on in front of me."



Asked if he loved Khyra, he answered: "I did, yes. I feel like a failure."



Five other children, who were also in the defendants' care, were also starved, the prosecution alleges.



Gordon, 35, formerly of Leyton Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, denies five counts of child cruelty alleged to have been committed between December 2007 and May 2008.



The case was adjourned until next Wednesday.