A teenage mum has been jailed over the death of her little daughter whom she left alone to travel to parties to have fun. Verphy Kudi allegedly abandoned her 20-month old baby girl to starve to death as she partied to celebrate her birthday.
She was sentenced to nine years in prison at Lewes Crown Court on Friday (6 August) having previously admitted the manslaughter of her infant daughter Asiah in Brighton in December 2019.
This is the height of being irresponsible! How can a mother leave her child for six days? Kudi had been partying in London and the West Midlands to celebrate her 18th birthday. Can you imagine?
When she returned home she called 999 telling the operator ‘help, my baby is not waking up after finding Asiah unresponsive and despite the efforts of paramedics, the baby died as she arrived at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in the city.
A post-mortem examination and forensic tests found that Asiah’s death was starvation, dehydration, and flu with the overall cause given as ‘neglect’.
Baby Asiah was left alone for six days before her death.
Below is the timeline:
December 5th: Kudi was seen on CCTV leaving the flat where she was housed by social services
December 5th – 9th: Celebrates her 18th birthday at parties and festivals in London
December 9th – 10th: Driven more than 150 miles away to Coventry and Solihull where she celebrates friends’ birthdays. Bank card is used at a McDonalds and pizza restaurant
December 11th: Kudi eventually returns to Brighton. Three hours after arriving back at her flat, Baby Asiah is unresponsive and Kudi calls 999. In a desperate call, she tells the operator, ‘help my baby is not waking up.
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Kudi, who is now 19, was housed in a residential block in Brighton for vulnerable families, in September 2019 by social services after the relationship with her mother broke down. Up to the age of 14, her mother described her as a ‘happy, caring girl who would light up the whole house’ but as she grew older, her mother said she ‘shut down mentally, would not communicate and became angry’.
As a teenager, she would be absent from school and was often reported missing by The Metropolitan Police and Sussex Police.
The mother had previously left her daughter alone on several occasions, including in the two months up to her death in mid-October.
Asiah was made the subject of a child protection plan when she was born but this was later removed.
An investigation into the case was launched by Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership to look at the circumstances surrounding Asiah’s death.
In March this year, Kudi pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She will serve two-thirds of her sentence in prison, before being released on license in the community.
Senior Investigating officer; 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 to avoid being caught.”
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.”
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.
A spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Asiah.
“In our safeguarding role, we are currently working with our partners to look into what happened and are conducting a Child Safeguarding Practice Review.
“We aim to publish the review report in the autumn.”
YMCA DownsLink Group 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 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 learned 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.”
Hmmm…little wonder what was running through her mind when she abandoned her child. Kudi is going to live a life of regrets for a very long time. Her actions are very terrible.
May Asiah’s soul rest in peace, Amen.