A teenage mother who left her toddler daughter to starve to death while she partied has been jailed.
Verphy Kudi, now 19, left daughter Asiah at the supported housing block that they lived in in Brighton for nearly six full days.
All the while, she was partying in London and the West Midlands. At a 1990s music concert in Elephant and Castle, London, she even had a DJ announce her 18th birthday.
Asiah died at the flat and tests showed she was starved, dehydrated and had developed flu. Judge Christine Laing said the final days of her life are "unbearable to contemplate" as she sentenced Kudi.
Kudi, who had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was jailed for nine years at Lewes Crown Court on Friday.
Wearing a black jacket and a face mask, Kudi had bowed her head as details of the final days of her daughter’s life were read out in the courtroom.
Prosecutor Sally Howes said CCTV covering Kudi’s home showed she had left Asiah alone in the flat for five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes.
Kudi left Brighton on 5 December and went to London, where she spent her birthday with her boyfriend.
On 7 December she attended a concert in Elephant and Castle, staying out until 4am.
On 9 December she moved on to a birthday party in Coventry – 150 miles from Brighton – before returning to London the next day and then home to East Sussex on 11 December.
She did not return until 11 December and called 999, telling the handler that her baby wouldn't wake up.
Paramedics found Kudi “incoherent, distressed and distraught” and her daughter lying on the floor. She was taken to the city’s Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital but was confirmed dead on arrival. A post-mortem examination concluded that she died from neglect.
Peter Wilcock, defending Kudi, said it is “truly a tragic and devastating case”.
He added: “She herself, the defendant, is both very young and we would submit very vulnerable.”
Wilcock cited her young age at the time of the offence and her history of vulnerability, as well as the effects any sentence will have on her going forward.
Sentencing Kudi, Laing said: “Asiah was alone in that flat for six days – less two hours – unable to do anything to draw attention to her plight.
“She was a helpless child and relied completely on you as her mother to provide for her needs.
“It is almost unbearable to contemplate her suffering in the final days of her life, suffering that she endured so that you could celebrate your birthday and the birthdays of your friends as a carefree teenager.”
“It goes without saying that this is a particularly tragic case and it no doubt raises strong emotions in all who hear of it, but everyone should bear in mind that the charge I sentence you for is one of manslaughter, it being accepted that you did not intend to cause Asiah death nor to cause her really serious harm.”
In a statement released by Sussex Police, Asiah and Verphy’s family said: “We are saddened by the current situation and as a family we have many unanswered questions.
“Verphy has experienced so much at such a young age and we have always done what we can to support her.
“As a family we are in the midst of an unbearable tragedy. Not only are we coming to terms with what has happened today but we are also still grieving for our beloved Asiah.
“We would be grateful if our privacy can be respected at this moment.”