A teenage mother wept in the dock today as she admitted killing her 20-month-old daughter who starved to death while she was miles away partying during a six-day bender to celebrate her 18th birthday.
Verphy Kudi’s daughter Asiah Kudi died at a flat in a supported housing block in Brighton in December 2019 after being left alone for six days with no food or water.
The mother, now 19, was seen on CCTV leaving the flat on her birthday before attending parties in London, Coventry and Solihull – more than 150 miles away in the Midlands.
A post-mortem examination and forensic tests found that Asiah starved, was dehydrated and developed flu. Her cause of death was given as neglect.
The baby was under a child protection plan but there was no social worker assigned when she died. Kudi’s flat was one of eight a housing complex run by YMCA DownsLink to house vulnerable young families on behalf of Brighton City Council.
Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) has launched a serious case review. Staff are located at the entrance to the complex at all times, although because the flats themselves are independent units they are not regularly inspected.
Today, Kudi appeared at Lewes Crown Court to enter a guilty plea to manslaughter as her father watched on. Speaking after the hearing, Muba Kudi, 59, said: ‘My heart is so broken. My daughter was missing. She had been missing since the age of 14.’
Verphy Kudi’s daughter Asiah Kudi died at an address in the East Sussex city in December 2019 after being left alone for six days with no food or water
Kudi is seen in handcuffs outside Lewes Crown Court, where she was remanded in custody after pleading guilty to manslaughter
A post-mortem examination and forensic tests found that Asiah starved, was dehydrated and developed flu. Her cause of death was given as neglect
After returning home from the party spree, Kudi called 999 saying her baby would not wake up.
Asiah was taken to Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton but was declared dead on arrival.
Today, Kudi held her hands to her face after the charge of manslaughter was read to her. She spoke only to answer guilty to the charge and confirm her name.
Wearing a plain black top and black trousers with a blue medical face mask, she wiped a tear from eyes as her father looked on from the public gallery.
Muba Kudi – Verphy Kudi’s father – sat with his arms crossed throughout the short hearing at Lewes Crown Court.
His daughter waved at him from the dock when court staff pointed him out.
Asiah was born on March 22, 2018 and was only 20-months-old when she died. It is not clear who the baby’s father was.
She had been living at the flat in Brighton with her mother where they had been housed by social services since September 30, 2019.
Cameras showed Kudi leaving the building on December 5 at 1739.
She did not return until December 11, when at 6.06pm she dialled 999 telling a call handler her baby would not wake up.
A few days later, staff at the Brighton mother and baby unit for teen mothers where they had been living contacted police after reviewing CCTV footage.
Data gathered by Sussex Police showed Kudi had been at parties in London, Coventry and Solihull before returning to Brighton.
Kudi admitted the manslaughter of her daughter between December 4 and 12.
Asiah was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton on Wednesday December 11.
Kudi’s flat was one of eight in a complex in Brighton (it is pictured in an undated photo)
Pictured bottom left is Brighton – where Kudi lived – and Solihull, Coventry and London, where she partied after leaving her baby between December 5 and 11, 2019
Today, Kudi spoke only confirm her name and enter the guilty plea. She is seen in a photo posted on social media
Asiah was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton on Wednesday December 11
Judge Christine Laing QC told Kudi: ‘You have heard that before I get to sentence you the defence want to get a report on your behalf and a doctor will no doubt make arrangements to see you and interview you over the next few weeks.’
She ordered that all social services records relating to the case be disclosed to the defence ahead of sentencing.
The case was adjourned to a provisional sentencing date of May 28, but Kudi was warned this may be delayed.
Data gathered by Sussex Police showed Kudi had been at parties in London, Coventry and Solihull before returning to Brighton
Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Asiah. In our safeguarding role, we will work with our partners to look into what has happened and carry out a Child Safeguarding Practice Review.
‘This includes working with our partner Sussex Police to make sure our review is carried out in support of or alongside their ongoing actions in this case.’
YMCA Downslink said: ‘This tragedy has shocked us all. Our staff, particularly those who work the complex, have been and continue to be, deeply affected by it.
‘Verphy Kudi and her daughter, Asiah had been living at the independent living flats, for 11 weeks, when Asiah died.
‘We will be working with the Safeguarding Practice Review to understand any lessons that can be learned from this tragedy.
‘Our sympathies and thoughts are with the family and everyone affected by this tragic event.’
YMCA DownsLink was handed a three-year contract worth £336,000 by Brighton council to run the accommodation, starting on Sunday 1 September 2019, Brighton and Hove News reported.
The contact offered a ‘medium’ level of support for families, with all flats self-contained with their own kitchen, space for staff on duty, and a communal area for group activities.
It is not clear whether any staff visited the unit while Asiah was there alone. MailOnline has YMCA DownsLink.
The baby was under a child protection plan but there was no social worker assigned when she died
The service used to be run by Peabody, which still owns the building and currently leases it to the council.
Family Mosaic Housing, which later merged with Peabody, paid £15.5 million for the flats in November 2014.
The Senior Investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, said; ‘This was a particularly distressing case for my team and me to investigate, and has caused great sorrow amongst Verphy’s family and the many agencies that have supported Verphy and Asiah.
‘We note the guilty plea entered in this case, and continue to prepare for Verphy’s sentencing in May.’