Birmingham & Black Country

Report into Khyra Ishaq death first of kind made public

Khyra Ishaq
Image caption Khyra Ishaq starved to death in 2008

The serious case review into the death of seven-year-old Khyra Ishaq is the first time such a report into a child's death has been made public.

Detailed in a 180-page document is the terrible treatment not just of Khyra but other children under the control of Angela Gordon and the step-father figure Junaid Abuhamza, who suffered from schizophrenia.

Khyra, from Handsworth, Birmingham, was taken out of school by her mother in December 2007.

Six months later she looked like a living skeleton, weighing 2st 9lbs (18.4kg).

The cause of death was given as a chest infection but she suffered the kind of death that only a famine victim would undergo - not one imagined for a child living in 21st Century Birmingham.

In fact, two of the other children were so malnourished that their bodies could not cope with normal food - a condition first seen in Japanese Prisoner of War victims.

Image caption Angela Gordon and Junaid Abuhamza were jailed in March

So, should we blame the social workers or the other agencies? If all the bits of information that everyone held had been pooled, then Khyra would be alive today.

Communication between professionals and agencies is always a factor in these types of tragic cases.

The schools involved actually did a good job in raising concerns.

One teacher had spotted Khyra stealing Hula Hoops crisps.

Another school had seen one of the other children stuffing fruit into their pockets, while another teacher had felt so sorry for one hungry child he gave him his own sandwiches at lunchtime.

But these clues failed to ring the proper alarm bells and the full horrors that went on inside the terraced house at Leighton Road were not properly investigated until it was too late.

For the last three months of her life no official saw Khyra Ishaq. It is one of the most chilling cases of child cruelty ever uncovered.

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