A teenage mother who left her toddler daughter to starve to death while she partied in London and Coventry has been jailed.
Verphy Kudi went to a 1990s music concert in Elephant and Castle, London, and even had a DJ announce her birthday during her days-long jaunt away from home, a court heard.
All the while, her 20-month-old daughter Asiah was alone in her flat in Brighton more than 50 miles away.
Five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes
Asiah tragically died from influenza and starvation after having been left unattended in the flat for days on end, prosecutors say.
When paramedics were finally called to the flat on December 11 2019 after Kudi had returned, they found her “incoherent, distressed and distraught” and her daughter lying on the floor.
Kudi, now 19, appeared in the dock at Lewes Crown Court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Wearing a black jacket and a face mask, Kudi bowed her head as details of the final days of her daughter’s life were read out in the courtroom.
Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said CCTV covering Kudi’s home showed that she had left Asiah alone in the flat for five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes.
Kudi left Brighton on December 5 and went to London, where she spent her birthday with her boyfriend.
On December 7 she attended a concert in Elephant and Castle, staying out until 4am.
On December 9 she moved on to a birthday party in Coventry – 150 miles from Brighton – before returning to London the next day and then home to East Sussex on December 11.
At 6.12pm on December 11, ambulance staff arrived at Kudi’s Brighton flat and Asiah was taken to the city’s Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital but was confirmed dead on arrival.
‘Tragic and devastating’
Peter Wilcock QC, defending Kudi, said it is “truly a tragic and devastating case”.
He added: “She herself, the defendant, is both very young and we would submit very vulnerable.”
Mr Wilcock cited her young age at the time of the offence and her history of vulnerability, as well as the effects any sentence will have on her going forward.
Sentencing Kudi, 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.”
“It goes without saying that this is a particularly tragic case and it no doubt raises strong emotions in all who hear of it, but everyone should bear in mind that the charge I sentence you for is one of manslaughter, it being accepted that you did not intend to cause Asiah death nor to cause her really serious harm.”
Kudi stood motionless as she was jailed for nine years and taken away by court staff.
In a statement released by Sussex Police, Asiah and Verphy’s family 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.”
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