Mother jailed for 15 years for starving Khyra Ishaq

The mother and stepfather of seven-year-old starvation victim Khyra Ishaq were jailed today for her manslaughter.

Angela Gordon was jailed for 15 years and her former partner Junaid Abuhamza was jailed indefinitely with a minimum term of seven-and-a-half years.

The pair were cleared of the seven-year-old's murder during a trial at Birmingham Crown Court last month, but convicted of her manslaughter.

Gordon, 35, and Abuhamza, 31, admitted child cruelty charges relating to five other children in their care and control, who were also starved and abused.

Neither defendant reacted as they were sentenced.

The judge told them their regime of punishment was "chilling in its harshness and cruelty".

Mr Justice Roderick Evans told them: "It is not right to say that these children suffered from neglect. Neglect is an inadequate and inappropriate description of the way they were treated.

"Rather, they were subjected to a domestic regime of punishment which was chilling in its harshness and cruelty.

"A regime introduced by you, Abuhamza, as it had its origins in your own upbringing, but a regime to which you, Gordon, became a party."

He told Gordon her cruelty was "horrific" and made worse because she was Khyra's mother.

Khyra died in May 2008 when her body succumbed to an infection after months of starvation at her home in Handsworth, Birmingham.

The court heard Khyra endured a punishment regime that included standing outside in the cold or in front of a fan for long periods, having cold water poured over her and being beaten with a bamboo cane.

The judge said: "A further punishment and one which is central to this case was depriving the children of food.

"It was that deprivation of food, which must have extended over a period on months, which reduced Khyra to the skeletal condition in which we have seen her in the photographs and computer graphics and so compromised her immune system that she was unable to resist infection.

"It was infection resulting from malnutrition which led to the bronchopneumonia and septicaemia which were the immediate cause of her death.

"In real terms, however, she died of starvation in a house in which there was an abundance of food."