Couple are accused of starving daughter to death
Published 20/01/2010 | 05:00
A jury was sworn in yesterday to try a couple accused of starving a seven-year-old girl to death.
The panel of seven men and five women, sitting at Birmingham Crown Court, was told that both Angela Gordon and her partner Junaid Abuhamza deny the murder of Khyra Ishaq.
The case against Ms Gordon (34) and 30-year-old Mr Abuhamza was opened tby prosecutor Timothy Raggatt.
Ms Gordon also denies five charges of child cruelty alleged to have been committed between December 2007 and May 2008.
Khyra, Ms Gordon's daughter, died on May 17, 2008, after being taken to hospital from the defendants' home in Leyton Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, England.
Jurors also heard that five other children, who were also in the defendants' care, were "similarly starved" and assaulted.
Two of the other children, none of whom can be identified, were found to be in a state of acute, severe and dangerous malnutrition when the matters came to light, Mr Raggatt alleged.
The prosecutor added: "They were lucky they did not contract an infection -- they too were starved to a point where their lives were plainly at risk."
The seven men and five women on the jury have been informed that the original trial of the defendants began last summer, but it was halted after one of the jurors fell ill and other issues arose with two further jurors.
Submitting that both defendants had acted together, Mr Raggatt said: "What they did over a period of months was a series of things which directly led to her death.
"What they did was a continuous course of conduct that was cruelty of an extreme kind and had at its heart the deliberate starvation of this child, who was to all intents and purposes, a prisoner."
Jurors were shown pictures from inside the terraced house in Leyton Road, including photographs of the "well-stocked" kitchen, and a cane used as part of a "punishment regime".
But the court heard that the kitchen was kept locked by a bolt "out of the reach of the children" so that they could not help themselves to food.
At mealtimes they were given a bowl of carrots, beans, eggs and rice, or unsweetened porridge, to share between them, the court heard.