Verphy Kudi: Mother jailed for leaving toddler alone for days to starve to death

CCTV footage showed that Ms Kudi left her daughter alone in the flat for five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes

Celine Wadhera
Friday 06 August 2021 21:52
<p>CCTV footage of Verphy Kudi returning to her home in Brighton, where she had left her 20-month old daughter alone for five days</p>

CCTV footage of Verphy Kudi returning to her home in Brighton, where she had left her 20-month old daughter alone for five days

The teenage mother who left her 20-month-old daughter to starve to death while she partied in London and Coventry has been jailed for nine years.

Throughout the trial, a court heard how Verphy Kudi attended a concert in Elephant and Castle in London, and had a DJ announce her birthday in the days after she left her daughter alone in her Brighton flat.

While she was absent, prosecutors told the court that the toddler, Asiah Kudi, died of starvation and influenza.

Paramedics were called to the flat on 11 December 2019, after Ms Kudi had returned to Brighton, and the toddler, Asiah Kudi, was taken by ambulance to Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.

The court also heard how Ms Kudi was “incoherent, distressed and distraught” when paramedics arrived at her flat.

Ms Kudi, now 19, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

On Friday, she appeared at Lewes Crown Court for sentencing.

Before her sentence was delivered, Prosecutor Sally Howes QC detailed the final days of Asiah’s life.

Ms Howes said that CCTV footage covering Ms Kudi’s flat showed that she had left the flat on 5 December 2019, and did not return for five days, 21 hours, and 58 minutes.

The court heard how Ms Kudi first went to London to celebrate her birthday with her boyfriend, before attending the 7 December concert in Elephant and Castle.

On 9 December, she attended a birthday party in Coventry, before returning to London on 10 December, and finally returning to East Sussex on 11 December.

At 6.12pm the day she returned, ambulance staff arrived at Ms Kudi’s flat and rushed Asiah to the hospital, but the toddler was sadly confirmed dead on arrival.

Ms Kudi’s defence lawyer, Peter Wilcock QC said that it was “truly a tragic and devastating case.

“She herself, the defendant, is both very young and we should submit very vulnerable,” he said, citing her age at the time of the offence and her history of vulnerability as factors to be considered in her sentencing.

Judge Christine Laing QC said: “Asiah was alone in that flat for six days – less two hours – unable to do anything to draw attention to her plight.

“She was a helpless child and relied completely on you as her mother to provide for her needs.

“It is almost unbearable to contemplate her suffering in the final days of her life, suffering that she endured so that you could celebrate your birthday and the birthdays of your friends as a carefree teenager.

While Judge Laing acknowledged the tragedy in the case, she made clear that it was manslaughter and not a higher charge for which Ms Kudi was being sentenced. She added that it was accepted that Ms Kudi did not intend to cause Asiah’s death, or to cause her serious harm.

Ms Kudi stood motionless as she was sentenced to nine years in prison and removed by court staff.

A statement from Ms Kudi’s family, released by the Sussex Police, spoke of their heartbreak, and requested privacy for the time being.

It said: “We are saddened by the current situation and as a family we have many unanswered questions.

“Verphy has experienced so much at such a young age and we have always done what we can to support her.

“As a family we are in the midst of an unbearable tragedy. Not only are we coming to terms with what has happened today but we are also still grieving for our beloved Asiah.

“We would be grateful if our privacy can be respected at this moment.”

With additional reporting from PA