The mother of a toddler who starved to death after she left her alone for almost six days to go partying has been jailed for nine years.
Verphy Kudi, now 19, abandoned her 20-month-old daughter, Asiah, in Brighton while she went to London and Coventry to celebrate her birthday, go to a concert and attend a friend’s party.
When paramedics were called to the flat on 11 December 2019 after Kudi had returned, they found her “incoherent, distressed and distraught” and her daughter lying on the floor. Asiah was taken to Royal Alexandra children’s hospital in Brighton but was confirmed dead on arrival, with the cause of death given as influenza and starvation.
Kudi was sentenced at Lewes crown court to nine years in jail on Friday, having pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
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 left Brighton on 5 December and went to London, where she spent her birthday with her boyfriend. On 7 December she attended a concert in Elephant and Castle.
On 9 December she went to a birthday party in Coventry – 150 miles from Brighton – before returning to London the next day and then home to East Sussex on 11 December.
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’s lawyer, Peter Wilcock QC, described the case as “tragic and devastating”, adding: “She herself, the defendant, is both very young and we would submit very vulnerable.”
In a statement released by Sussex police, Asiah and Kudi’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.”