– A mother in Britain who starved her seven-year-old daughter to death has been cleared of her murder and had her guilty plea to manslaughter accepted.
Prosecutors accepted Angela Gordon’s defense of diminished responsibility over the death of Khyra Ishaq.
Junaid Abuhamza, her partner and a diagnosed schizophrenic, had a manslaughter plea accepted earlier in the trial following a report on his mental health.
It brings to an end a traumatic trial where jurors were told of the girl's severely emaciated condition at the time of her death in Handsworth, Birmingham, in May 2008.
Medical professionals treating Khyra after she was rushed to hospital said her condition was “outside of their experience.” Doctors likened her appearance to that of a famine victim and prosecutors said she was “literally skin and bone.”
The court was shown pictures of a well-stocked kitchen and a fridge full of food, which had a special lock fitted to prevent Khyra and other children helping themselves.
On the rare occasions that Khyra and other children were fed, they were given dry bread or one bowl of porridge between them, which they had to eat with their hands on the floor.
If the children were caught taking food they were punished with “detention” and made to stand outside in the cold, beaten with a cane or made to overeat until they were sick.
During the trial, a young witness told how Khyra was forced to stand in just boxer shorts in front of a fan for 24 hours because she had been “rude.” In testimony which made jurors weep, the witness described beatings with a stick and times when “Khyra was in the shed, she had to sleep in the shed if she had been rude”.
Gordon has also admitted five charges of child cruelty relating to other children in her care, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The decision to accept Gordon’s plea of not guilty to murder was taken in the sixth week of a retrial after several days of psychiatric assessment and legal argument. An earlier trial last year abandoned after a number of jurors fell ill.
The pair will be sentenced on Friday next week.