Saturday, 31 May 2008

Seven-year-old girl was visited by social services just four months before she starved to death

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The seven-year-old girl found starved to death at her home had last been visited by the authorities four months before her death, it emerged yesterday. Khyra Ishaq was visited in January by police officers carrying out a 'welfare check' as well as a teacher from her school, but the visits were not followed up. She had been removed from school in December and is thought to have been last seen by social services at her home in Handsworth, Birmingham later that month. She died on May 17, hours after being found by paramedics with her five emaciated brothers and sisters lying on a mattress at the inner-city terrace. Khyra's father Delroy Francis had moved out of the rented house three years previously. The children lived with their mother Angela Gordon, 33, and her boyfriend Junaid Abuhamza, 29, who moved in eight months previously. It is believed he had assumed joint responsibility for the children. The couple appeared in court yesterday via videolink accused of 'causing or allowing' Khyra's death. Gordon - dressed in a black outfit which revealed only her face - could be seen on camera at Eastwood Park jail in Gloucestershire dabbing away tears during the ten minute hearing at Birmingham Crown Court. Abuhamza, who is being held at Blakenhurst prison, Gloucestershire, wore white robes and headgear and remained impassive throughout. They are accused of committing the offence between May 9 and May 17 and spoke only to confirm they understood the charge. No application for bail was made and they were remanded into custody until a plea and case management hearing on September 1. A serious case review has been launched by the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board into the circumstances of Khyra's death.The mother of a seven-year-old girl who died after allegedly being starved at her home appeared in court via video link today. Angela Gordon, 33, and her partner Junaid Abuhamza, 29, are both accused of 'causing or allowing' the death of Khyra Ishaq. The pair, who lived together with Khyra and her siblings in Handsworth, Birmingham, appeared at Birmingham Crown Court charged with the offence contrary to section five of the 2004 Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act. The defendants were not required to enter a plea at today's ten-minute hearing, and spoke only to confirm that they understood the charges against them. They will next appear in court on September 1 where they will enter a plea.

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