Khyra Ishaq

    Khyra Ishaq (pictured) was a seven-year-old girl who starved to death at her home in Birmingham in May 2008.

    The serious case review of the case was the first in England to be published in full.

    It concluded that Khyra’s death was preventable and was due partly to a lack of information-sharing between agencies.

    There were many opportunities missed across different agencies (see chronology summary, below).

    The review also revealed that the social worker overseeing the case had 50 cases on the go at the time of Khyra’s death.

    After the girl’s death, her siblings were taken into care.

    Khyra’s mother, Angela Gordon, 33, and her mother’s partner, Junaid Abuhamza, 29, of Handsworth, Birmingham, were charged with causing or allowing Khyra’s death between 9 and 17 May 2008.

    In February 2010, a High Court judge concluded Khyra would still be alive if there had been an adequate initial assessment by social services.

    The revelation came at the end of the re-trial of Khyra’s mother and her mother’s partner.

    In March, 2010, the couple were jailed for manslaughter, Gordon for 15 years and Abuhamza indefinitely.

    Although the furore over the case was less than that surrounding Baby P, there was some finger-pointing, with a Birmingham MP calling for the resignation of senior officials in Birmingham Council’s children’s services.

    Social workers involved in the case also faced disciplinary action.

     

    TIMELINE OF EVENTS

    6 December 2007 Khyra Ishaq is removed from her school by her mother, Angela Gordon. Gordon says she plans to teach Khyra and some of her siblings at home.

    19 December 2007 The deputy head of Khyra’s school contacts social services. She and a colleague make a home visit but do not see Khyra because they are not allowed in.

    28 January 2008 Social worker Ranjit Mann visits Khyra’s family home. There is no answer when she knocks on the door.

    8 February 2008 An educational social worker and council mentor visit the family home to offer advice on home schooling. They do not see Khyra.

    21 February 2008 Birmingham Council social workers Sanya Scott and Anne Gondo are refused entry to the house while on a pre-arranged visit. Khyra and some of her siblings are brought to the door and the social workers report they have no concerns for the children’s well-being.

    17 May 2008 Khyra is taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where she is pronounced dead from an infection caused by starvation.

    19 May 2008 Gordon and Abuhamza appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, facing charges of neglect. They are remanded in custody.

    23 May 2008 Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board starts a review into Khyra’s case.

    28 May 2008 Gordon and Abuhamza appear in court via video link, accused of causing or allowing Khyra’s death.

    15 July 2008 Gordon appears in court to face five new child cruelty charges. Abuhamza is charged with the same offences.

    5 June 2009 The first trial for Gordon and Abuhamza begins at Birmingham Crown Court. They are charged with murder.

    5 October 2009 A report criticises Birmingham’s children’s services as not fit for purpose. The death of Khyra was one of those looked at during the council investigation.

    12 February 2010 Abuhamza admits manslaughter in the fourth week of the trial. After evidence about his mental health, the murder charge is dropped. Gordon admits manslaughter too, but her plea is not accepted and her trial for murder continues.

    25 February 2010 Gordon is cleared of murder. She also admits five counts of child cruelty.

    March 2010 The couple are jailed for manslaughter, Gordon for 15 years and Abuhamza indefinitely.

     

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