Thursday 21 September 2017

Mother and lesbian lover 'rational when girl killed' - court

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Stock photo

By Emily Pennink and Helen William

A mother and her lesbian lover were not "mad" when they abused, tortured and killed an eight-year-old girl while in the grip of their private Facebook fantasy world, jurors have been told.

Polly Chowdhury, 35, and Kiki Muddar, 43, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of murdering the younger woman's daughter Ayesha Ali.

She was found dead at their home in Chadwell Heath in east London last August having suffered more than 40 injuries including a bite mark and carpet burns.

The court heard that Muddar used fictitious characters called Jimmy Chowdhury and spirit guide Skyman to have sex with Chowdhury and turn her against her own daughter to the extent she admitted hitting her with a wooden spoon and "may have" bitten her.

But in his closing speech, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told jurors that a psychiatrist concluded that despite creating these manipulative alter egos, Muddar was not delusional and understood what she was doing.

He said: "She was rational in her judgments in having a disgust with Ayesha. She did not like Polly Chowdhury putting Ayesha above her interests.

"However immoral, abhorrent and illegal her judgment, it was rational. She hated the girl getting between her and Polly.

"Although she had a personalty disorder it was not something she could use as a partial defence to murder.

"Bearing in mind the nature of the offence and this fictional world on Facebook, there is no question of either defendant having been mad.

"In other words, when discussing a case like this and how awful it must be, there is no question of saying they must have been mad."

He went on to say that the jury may agree there was an element of "brainwashing and control" of Chowdhury by Muddar but that did not constitute a medical condition.

Both women blamed each other over the girl's death, which happened with a "background of prolonged abuse, some might even consider it torture", the court heard.

On presenting such a case involving thousands of texts to Chowdhury from made-up people, Mr Whittam recalled thinking: "Am I really standing, as I am, in the Central Criminal Court reading messages with this content? But truth is stranger than fiction."

Chowdhury admitted that after Muddar moved in, they smacked Ayesha and hit her with a wooden spoon on text message instructions from Skyman and on the day she died, she was given a cold bath as punishment for wetting herself.

Mr Whittam suggested that Chowdhury's evidence in her defence "did not stand up to examination" and that her "integrity or lack of it had been exposed".

Of Muddar's decision not to give evidence, he said: "You are entitled to consider that the only sensible answer to the silence is that she has no answer - and no answer that would bear examination.

Weighing three and half stone and standing at 4ft 7in tall, Ayesha was not in a position to resist anything that was done to her, the court was told.

Her injuries also included a black eye, bruising to the chin, injuries to her hips and back, "a blow across the lips which almost certainly caused that damage to her mouth" and a bite by Chowdhury, Mr Whittam told the court.

She says that she cannot remember biting the girl, but Mr Whittam added: "However questionable she may be, can she really not remember herself doing that, biting her own child, or is it that she cannot accept what she had done?"

A blow to the head was the cause of death but Ayesha did not die straight away, jurors heard.

Muddar, of Green Lane, Ilford, and Chowdhury, of Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath, Romford, deny murder, manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of a child between March 1 and August 29 2013.

The trial was adjourned until Monday and the trial judge Christopher Moss QC indicated that he would sum up the case on Thursday before sending the jury out to consider its verdicts.

Press Association

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