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Conclusion of unlawful killing returned in the inquest into the death of Asiah Kudi

News | Thu 22nd Jun, 2023

Asiah Kudi died aged 20 months in December 2019 when her mother, Verphy Kudi, abandoned her for almost 6 days in their flat in Brighton, travelling to London and Coventry to celebrate her 18th birthday. Ms Kudi is serving 9 years for manslaughter.  Asiah died in supported accommodation managed by YMCA Downslink, a charity offering services for children, young people and families.  The project she lived in provided low to medium levels of housing related support to tenants living in independent flats who had been assessed as having low level housing support needs.  Although Asiah had been open to social services at birth their involvement ended before she died, her mother having been assessed as providing good enough care.  Social services retained involvement with Verphy Kudi as a care leaver and relevant child.  YMCA staff had raised some concerns about Ms Kudi’s care of Asiah that were reported to social services: on one occasion that Ms Kudi was intoxicated while Asiah was in her care and on another she had left Asiah briefly while she went outside for a cigarette.  A subsequent police investigation discovered that, unbeknownst to YMCA Downslink staff, Ms Kudi had left Asiah on her own in the flat on a number of occasions before her death. 

Following a 5 day hearing the coroner found that Asiah had been unlawfully killed.  She concluded that Asiah’s death could not have been predicted by the services that were supporting the family.  The concerns that had been raised before Asiah’s death gave rise to a risk of accidental injury and were different in nature to the risk of abandonment and death.  They did not and should not have led to Asiah being removed from her mother’s care.  The coroner considered that Verphy Kudi’s action in leaving Asiah uncared for so long could not have been foreseen by the services involved with the family and that there was nothing that more that should have been done that could have prevented her death. 

Laura Johnson KC acted for YMCA Downslink instructed by DMH Stallard.

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