Mother sentenced over death of her daughter in Brighton
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A mother has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing the death of her baby daughter in Brighton.
Verphy Kudi, 19, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court on Friday 6 August, having admitted at a hearing in March to the manslaughter of her daughter Asiah, aged 20 months, at a flat where they were living in Islingword Road, Brighton, in December 2019.
Asiah was taken by ambulance to the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton from the address on Wednesday 11 December 2019 and was tragically confirmed dead soon after arrival at hospital. Following a postmortem and subsequent further forensic tests, Asiah's death was found to have resulted from neglect.
When first interviewed by police, Verphy maintained that she had been with her child at the flat all the time, except for one visit she made with her to London.
But the court heard how the police investigation found from CCTV, phone, and other evidence from people who knew her, that Verphy Kudi left the flat on 5 December, her 18th birthday, and did not return until 11 December, leaving her child alone and uncared for throughout that time.
See these video extracts of Verphy leaving the flat, at a party in London, and returning after six days.
Verphy had gone first to London, and then with friends to another's birthday party in Coventry, before returning to Brighton via London.
The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team. The 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 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 interventions can be made."
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) is 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.