Teen mother, 19, who left her baby to starve to death whilst she partied is jailed for 9 years
Verphy Kudi, 19, was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday after she left her 20-month-old daughter Asiah alone 11 times in two months.
A defenceless baby who starved to death after her mother, 19-year-old Verphy Kudi left her alone 11 times in two months did not cry because she knew it was pointless, a court has heard.
Kudi was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday after she left her 20-month-old daughter Asiah alone, ultimately resulting in her death.
Verphy went to a 1990s music concert, held in the Elephant and Castle, London, and even had a DJ announce her birthday during her days-long party session away from her baby.
Kudi continued to party whilst Asiah was alone in her flat in a 'supported housing' block over 50 miles away in Brighton.
20-month-old Asiah tragically died from influenza and starvation after being left unattended for 5 days, 21 hours and 58 minutes, prosecutors said.
Paramedics were finally called to the flat on December 11th, 2019 after Kudi had returned, they found her 'incoherent, distressed and distraught with her baby daughter laying on the floor.
Dr Nicola Cleghorn, the consultant paediatrician who reviewed the case said "Asiah had probably learnt that crying for help was pointless".
She said this is why neighbours and staff did not hear the baby whilst she was left to fend for herself at home.
Yesterday, Kudi, appeared in the dock at Lewes Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Kudi broke down in tears as she was taken away by court staff after the judge sentenced her to nine years in prison.
Judge Laing said that the baby had gone through "Almost unimaginable suffering" before dying alone in the flat.
She added: "She was a helpless young child and relied completely on you as her mother to provide for her needs".
She went on to tell Kudi that "You grossly abused her trust and had prioritised her desire to celebrate your birthday and the birthday of your friends, rather than the needs of your own child".
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 and stayed 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.
Kudi returned to her home at 3.38pm on December 11 but failed to call the emergency services for over two hours. In the time in between, she was seen emptying bags into the communal bin area before returning to her flat. When she eventually called 999, she told the call handler that her daughter was 'not waking up.'
Kudi went on to tell paramedics that Asiah had been asleep all day and that she had left her to rest after giving her milk and Calpol.
Asiah was taken to the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital but was tragically confirmed dead on arrival.
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.'
Judge Laing QC branded Kudi 'deceitful and manipulative' and added: 'You knew full well you should not be doing what you were doing.
'It is a particularly distressing aspect of this case that it is unlikely she would have cried for any time because she had learned on many occasions there would have been no response.'
It had been previously been revealed Kudi tried to sell concert tickets on Twitter on the day the baby's body was found.
Another tweet showed her attempting to become a Pretty Little Thing model months after Asiah's death.
The court heard that Kudi had been a happy girl growing up whose laughter would light up the whole house.'
But from the age of 14, she became withdrawn and began truanting from school and going missing from home.
Social services stepped in and she was assigned a social worker and moved to a placement at a safe house in Norfolk.
But there were concerns she had become involved in child sexual exploitation and she fell pregnant and moved back to Brighton.
She was moved in with foster carers and Asiah was born on March 22, 2018, and was immediately placed on a child protection plan - though there was no social worker assigned to her when she died.
They went to live with Kudi's mother Asiah Batrane but three months before the tragedy - in September 2019 - Kudi and Asiah were moved by the council to a flat in a sheltered residential block for vulnerable families.
She was one of eight young people living in a flat in the complex run by charity YMCA DownsLink on behalf of Brighton City Council.
The flats are independent units and staff do not enter the living areas or carry out regular inspections, but there are members of staff located in a reception entrance to the block 24 hours a day.
YMCA Downslink offers a 'medium to low level of support for families, with all flats self-contained with their own kitchen, space for staff on duty, and a communal area for group activities.
Kudi settled in well in the flat but the court heard she began to abandon her daughter alone in the flat to meet up with friends and go out to parties.
In the three months leading up to her death, there were at least six other occasions she left Asiah alone in the flat - once for two whole days.
In a statement, Asiah and Verphy's family have 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.'
The Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) are carrying out a Child Safeguarding Practice Review (CSPR) of this case, which they aim to publish later this year.
Sussex Police like all agencies concerned are fully participating in that Review.
Libby Clark of the CPS said: 'This has been a deeply harrowing case involving the death of a 20-month-old baby.
'Asiah's mother Verphy Kudi had a duty to keep her safe from harm, but instead selfishly chose to put her own need to party and be with her friends above all else.
'The consequences of her decision meant that Asiah must have suffered dreadfully during the days and nights that she was alone in the flat.
'This follows a history of multiple earlier occasions of abandonment and neglect.'
A spokesperson for YMCA Downslink said: "The conclusion of the court hearing and sentencing of Verphy Kudi for the death of her daughter, Asiah, brings an element of closure to this tragic event. Verphy Kudi's actions have shocked us all.
'Verphy Kudi misled staff into believing Asiah was with her whilst she was away celebrating her 18th birthday. Tragically, neither our staff nor other residents heard anything to alert them to the fact that Asiah had been left in the flat alone and this continues to impact them deeply.
'In court, it was stated that it is unlikely that Asiah would have called out due to a combination of learnt behaviour, and, her underlying influenza. Today, our thoughts and sympathies lie with Asiah, her wider family, and everyone affected by this awful event.
'We are working with the other agencies involved in the ongoing Child Safeguarding Practice Review to fully understand the circumstances that led to this tragic incident. We will not be making any further comment until we have the outcome of that review.'
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, said; 'This was a particularly distressing case for my team and me to investigate, and has caused great sorrow amongst Verphy's family and the many agencies that have supported Verphy and Asiah.
'In pleading guilty, Ms Kudi accepted the terrible judgements she made in leaving her child alone and unprotected for such a protracted period and accepts the lies she told to friends, family and professionals to cover up her neglect of her daughter and in order to avoid being caught.
'I hope Verphy's acceptance will help the rest of her family to grieve the terrible loss of Asiah. Sussex Police will always go the extra mile to investigate offending against children and all vulnerable people, as well as supporting their families and friends.
'I would always urge anyone who has concerns for the wellbeing of a child, or vulnerable adult, to contact the relevant authorities as early as possible, so that supportive intervention can be made.