Child – Khyra Ishaq – Starved to death

Three Birmingham council employees involved in the case of a seven-year-old girl who starved to death in her own home are facing disciplinary action.

Birmingham City Council faced heavy criticism after Khyra Ishaq died in May 2008, following months of physical abuse and starvation at her Birmingham home.

Her mother Angela Gordon and stepfather Junaid Abuhamza were jailed last month for her manslaughter by a judge who branded their domestic regime “chilling in its harshness and cruelty”. A spokesman for the authority said: “Three members of staff who took decisions in regard to the case are subject to a thorough investigation into what decisions they took.

“This will be conducted within the council’s disciplinary procedures and will be overseen by an external, independent and suitably qualified person to ensure that it is done fairly”. During the trial of Gordon, 35, and 31-year-old Abuhamza, at Birmingham Crown Court, it emerged that Khyra had been removed from school in December 2007 and deprived of food.

She and five other children in the care of Gordon and Abuhamza at their home in the Handsworth area of the city were also subjected to a punishment regime which involved being soaked with cold water and being beaten with a bamboo cane.

Towards the end of the criminal trial, a High Court ruling from separate proceedings was made public stating that “in all probability” Khyra would have lived if there had been “an adequate initial assessment by educational welfare services”.

Gordon, who admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, was jailed for 15 years. Abuhamza, who also pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was jailed indefinitely with a minimum term of seven-and-a-half years.

A serious case review into Khyra’s death by the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board is under way.

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