Page last updated at 20:55 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 21:55 UK

Neglect charge over girl's death

Khyra Ishaq. Photo C: Caters News Agency
Khyra Ishaq was taken to hospital on Saturday. Pic: Caters News Agency

A woman and man have been charged with neglect after the death of a seven-year-old girl.

Khyra Ishaq, of Leyton Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, was taken to hospital on Saturday where she was pronounced dead.

Tests are continuing to find the cause of Khyra's death.

Angela Gordon, 33, and 29-year-old Junaid Abuhamza appeared at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on Monday to face charges of neglect.

The pair, believed to be Khyra's mother and stepfather, were remanded in custody until 28 May.

A Birmingham Crown Court spokesman said Ms Gordon and Mr Abuhamza would appear at the court for a preliminary hearing on that date, charged with causing or allowing the death of a child between 9 May and 17 May.

According to neighbours, there were six children living in the house, three boys and three girls.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was called to the address in Handsworth at 0545 BST on Saturday. From that address Khyra was taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

A statement by West Midlands Police said inquiries into the girl's death were continuing. "Her cause of death has not been confirmed at this stage," it added.

Valerie Frances, the sister of Khyra's natural father, said she was "shocked" by the news of her niece's death.

Khyra's aunt is shocked by the news of her niece death

Speaking outside the house in Handsworth, she said: "All the time I have been coming here I couldn't get into the house, as far as I am concerned because nobody was there.

"The last time I saw them was last year some time. I've been coming here all the time, knocking on the door on four occasions and no-one came to the door."

Birmingham Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood pledged to write to the chief executive of the council on Thursday calling for an inquiry to look at all the issues in the case.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened by the death of this child and our sympathies go to the child's family and friends at this difficult time.

"This death is now the subject of a police inquiry and Birmingham City Council are fully supporting their investigation."

The door and ground floor windows of the house in Leyton Road have been covered with metal shutters.

A family friend, who did not want to be named, said: "Khyra was a happy girl. I saw her with her mum about nine or 10 days ago, she looked normal."

The coroner's office said it would be "at least another week" before a second post-mortem examination takes place.


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