Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Friday, 12 February 2010

Pair admit starved Birmingham girl's manslaughter

Khyra Ishaq
Khyra Ishaq died in May 2008

A mother and her partner accused of murdering her seven-year-old daughter by starving her to death have admitted her manslaughter.

A charge of murder against Junaid Abuhamza, 31, was dropped after new evidence about his mental health was revealed at Birmingham Crown Court.

The prosecution did not accept a plea of manslaughter by Angela Gordon, 35, and her trial for murder continues.

The pair were accused of starving Khyra Ishaq to death in Birmingham in 2008.

She was so emaciated at the time of her death, on 17 May, that her condition was outside the experience of medical professionals, prosecutor Timothy Raggatt QC has told the jury.

Cold water

Khyra and five other children under the couple's care and control had been denied food, the court heard.

Abuhamza's guilty plea to Khyra's manslaughter was accepted and he was found guilty of that charge by the jury after direction from the judge, Mr Justice Roderick Evans.

Abuhamza has told the court that he was brutally abused as a child and witnessed his father beating his younger sister to death when he was five years old.

He also told jurors last week he had beaten Khyra with a cane, made her stand outside in the cold and threw cold water over her.

When asked by the prosecution if he blamed himself for her death, he said: "Yes I do."

The court has heard he suffered from bouts of schizophrenia and thought Khyra had a "weird face" because she was possessed by evil spirits.

Khyra died after being discovered at the family home in Handsworth, Birmingham, in a state of starvation.

Abuhamza, who pleaded guilty to five cruelty charges at an earlier hearing, will be sentenced at the end of the trial.

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