Page last updated at 19:07 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 20:07 UK

Khyra accused 'struck children'

Khyra Ishaq
The boy said the children all had to eat from one bowl

A man accused of starving a seven-year-old girl to death would hit other children in his care if he thought they had eaten too much, a court has heard.

In a recorded police interview shown to a jury at Birmingham Crown Court a 13-year-old boy said Junaid Abuhamza would use a stick to "whack" them with.

Mr Abuhamza, 30, and Angela Gordon, 34, both of Leyton Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, deny murdering Khyra Ishaq.

The prosecution said she was starved to death and kept prisoner at her home.

Mr Abuhamza pleaded guilty last week to five cruelty charges relating to other children.

'Evil spirit'

Ms Gordon denies the charges of child cruelty, which are alleged to have been committed between December 2007 and 17 May 2008.

Appearing by videolink, the boy told the court Mr Abuhamza moved into Leyton Road in September 2007.

He said that afterwards, the children in Ms Gordon's care had to eat together from one bowl, having previously used separate plates.

He also said Mr Abuhamza had refused to allow certain toys because their presence meant "the angels would not come in".

Mr Abuhamza believed Khyra, who died in May 2008, had been taken by an evil spirit which he wanted to help her get rid of, he told the court.

The trial has been adjourned until Friday.

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