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Teenage mother jailed over death of toddler daughter she left alone for days while she partied

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A teenage mother has been jailed for nine years after abandoning her toddler daughter for nearly six days while she partied for her 18th birthday.

Verphy Kudi left 20-month-old Asiah alone in her flat in Brighton while she went clubbing in London and Coventry, a court heard.

Asiah died from influenza and starvation after having been left unattended in the flat for days on end, prosecutors said.

CCTV showing Kudi leaving her flat on 5 December
Image: CCTV showing Kudi leaving her flat on 5 December
CCTV shows Kudi returning to her flat on 11 December
Image: CCTV shows Kudi returning to her flat on 11 December

When paramedics were finally 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.

Kudi, now 19, appeared in the dock at Lewes Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Wearing a black jacket and a face mask, Kudi bowed her head as details of the final days of her daughter’s life were read out in the courtroom.

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.

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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, staying out until 4am.

On 9 December she moved on 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.

At 6.12pm on 11 December, ambulance staff arrived at Kudi’s Brighton flat and Asiah was taken to the city’s Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital but was confirmed dead on arrival.

Peter Wilcock QC, defending Kudi, said it is “truly a tragic and devastating case”.

Mobile phone footage of Kudi at a concert in London
Image: Mobile phone footage of Kudi at a concert in London

He added: “She herself, the defendant, is both very young and we would submit very vulnerable.”

Sentencing Kudi, 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.”

The judge added: “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.”

In a statement released by Sussex Police, Asiah and Verphy’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.”