A mum who left her 20-month-old daughter to starve to death while she went away for six days to celebrate her 18th birthday has been jailed for nine years.
Verphy Kudi, now 19, previously admitted manslaughter at Lewes Crown Court after leaving little Asiah home alone in a supported housing block in Brighton, while she partied in London and Coventry.
Wearing a black jacket and a face mask, the teenager bowed her head as details of the final days of her daughter’s life were read out in the courtroom.
Speaking before the courtroom on Friday, Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said CCTV covering Kudi’s home showed that she had left Asiah alone in the flat for six days, less two hours, as she partied.
Kudi had departed Brighton on December 5 and travelled to London, where she kicked off the six days of celebrations with her boyfriend.
The courtroom heard how couple of days later, on December 7, she attended a 1990s concert in Elephant and Castle, staying out until 4am, and even having a DJ announce her birthday.
On December 9, she moved on to a birthday party in Coventry, 150 miles from Brighton.
She travelled back to London the next day, before returning home to East Sussex on December 11.
According to ITV reports, the young mother called 999 on her arrival home, telling the operator “help, my baby is not waking up” after finding her daughter unresponsive.
Ambulance staff arrived at Kudi’s Brighton flat shortly after 6pm on December 11 to find her “incoherent, distressed and distraught” and her daughter lying on the floor
The rushed Asiah to the city’s Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, but medical staff were unable to revive her.
A post-mortem examination and forensic tests found determined the overall cause of Asiah’s death was “neglect”; a combination of starvation, dehydration and the flu.
Peter Wilcock QC, defending Kudi, said it was “truly a tragic and devastating case”.
Mr Wilcock described his client as both “young” and “vulnerable” and noted the impact any sentence would have on her going forward.
Kudi had been living in Gocher Court, accommodation for vulnerable families run by a charity commissioned by Brighton and Hove City Council, since the breakdown of her relationship with her mother.
However, Judge Christine Laing QC, sentencing Judi, noted that the teen had left her daughter 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,” Judge Laing said. “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.”
The judge noted it was being accepted that Kudi had not intended to bring about Asiah’s death, nor to cause her serious harm.
Kudi stood motionless as she was jailed for nine years and taken away by court staff.
According to details outlined by the prosecution at a court hearing last year Kudi had left her child unsupervised close to a dozen times in the months leading up to her death.
The first time was less than two months before the toddler died in December 2019.
Sally Howes QC, for the prosecution, told a bail hearing for Kudi on October 23 last year at Hove Trial Centre that there was no system to sign in or out of Gocher Court.
She said on the first occasion Kudi left her daughter alone in mid-October it would have been clear to staff that the baby was unsupervised and she was “spoken to”.
The QC continued that there were then 11 further occasions when little Asiah had been left unsupervised which is understood to include when the tot died.
It is now claimed the prosecution classes seven of the incidents as being particularly serious including the final time Asiah was left home alone.