35 year old Polly Chowdhury has been jailed for 13 years at the Old Bailey for the manslaughter of her 8 year old daughter Ayesha Ali.
Her friend 43 year old Kiki Muddar received 18 years imprisonment.
Judge Christopher Moss QC said Muddar was ‘a manipulative and wicked woman’ who deserved ‘condign punishment’ for her crime.
He told the victim’s mother Polly Chowdhury:
You were Ayesha’s mother, whom she trusted and was entitled to expect that you would protect her from harm rather than take part in inflicting it upon her. You were in a fundamental position of trust in which you disgracefully failed.
They were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury on Wednesday of killing eight-year-old Ayesha Ali on the night of 28 August 2013 but acquitted of murder.
Judge Moss said Muddar received the higher sentence because she had to take the lion’s share of responsibility for the misery and suffering inflicted on the girl.
When addressing her in the dock he said:
You inhabited an extraordinary fantasy, fictional world of deceit and lies and you determinedly immersed Polly Chowdhury in that world. You clearly developed a deep hatred of little Ayesha.
So it was that, in the months leading up to her death, Ayesha was subjected at the hands of both of you to a life of cruelty and misery that defies belief.
The court heard how Chowdhury, Ayesha’s mother, and Muddar subjected the girl to sustained abuse, both physical and mental, in the months leading up to her death at Bedwell Court, Broomfield Road, Romford.
Muddar – who had worked her way into Chowdhury’s affections – orchestrated a fictitious environment in their home, inventing two characters which she used to manipulate her and Chowdhury’s relationship with Ayesha.
The characters, a man called Jimmy Chowdhry, who Muddar created via Facebook, and ‘Skyman’, portrayed as a guiding spirit who conversed with Polly Chowdhury via text message only, were used to influence their behaviour towards Ayesha.
The Judge said he believed the evidence pointed to Muddar being responsible for inflicting the fatal head injury.
But they had both terrorised the little girl by wearing ‘vile masks’ at night.
A neighbour gave evidence saying she could hear Ayesha screaming, sobbing and pleading with her mother ‘Amah, I don’t want to be bad, Amah, Amah, I don’t want to be bad.’
On 28th August 2013 The London Ambulance Service found Ayesha’s lifeless body on her bedroom floor – it was obvious that she had been dead for some time.
A post-mortem examination revealed Ayesha had 56 separate injuries to her body including a bite mark on her shoulder and fresh bruising on her head, body and limbs.
Detectives recovered and analyzed 140,000 lines of text from messaging apps and emails, 40,000 messages from a laptop, 1,450 voice recordings which were backed up on Kiki Muddar’s phone and 17,000 pages of Facebook messages.
In one of the recordings played to the jury Muddar could be heard using explicit language about Ayesha and saying: ‘I’m going to ****ing kill her… I will drown her in the ****ing bath. That ****. I will ****ing drown that witch.’
Both women were subsequently arrested and charged with Ayesha’s murder and with causing or allowing serious harm to a child.
They were acquitted of the murder charge, but convicted of the alternative charge of manslaughter.
The judge commended the painstaking police inquiry which he said disclosed a narrative that could ‘astonish and horrify’ anyone attending the trial.
Detective Inspector Donna Convery from the Homicide and Major Crime Command said:
In all my years as a police officer I have never come across a case of this nature. It took us months to unpick and investigate the web of lies that Kiki Muddar had constructed. Through the use of specialist officers we were able to evidence beyond doubt the roles that both these women played in emotionally and physically abusing Ayesha.
Ayesha was a bright and intelligent little girl who was well liked by teachers and classmates alike. In the six months before her death Ayesha was subjected to horrific levels of mental abuse, which during the summer holidays escalated to become physical. She was an innocent child who was caught up in the most bizarre set of events, manipulated by two adults who were intent on causing her harm.
Ayesha shold have been protected by the one woman she thought she could trust but her mother, Polly Chowdhury, allowed herself to be influenced by Muddar so that sustained mental and finally physical abuse could be inflicted on her daughter.
Muddar went to extremely sophisticated and complex lengths to construct a number of fictitious characters, through whom she exercised her influence on Chowdhury to harm her child.
What the motivation behind this campaign of abuse was remains unclear. What is painfully clear, however, is that Ayesha, an eight-year-old girl, has had her life taken away in horribly brutal circumstances.
Judge Moss paid tribute to what he described as the ‘courage and personal restraint’ of Ayesha’s father Afsar Ali who had to learn the disturbing details of his daughter’s suffering and how she died as the case unfolded in court.
Mr Ali released a statement describing his despair and grief about the fate of his daughter:
This has been the hardest and most difficult thing that I have ever had to do in my life. It is impossible for me to sum up what has happened in the last couple of years. It is impossible to find the words to describe my feelings.
On Thursday, 29 August 2013 our world fell apart. Everything that had happened over the past few years collapsed in a blink of an eye. Our world crumbled right in front of us.
I lost a battle I never agreed to fight. I cry every night; each teardrop engraves yet another scar. The saddest part is that I have to put up with another day, every day shielding my suffering inside.
For moments in my life I block the world out completely and I try to only think about Ayesha, my princess, her smile, her presence, her words and her kisses. The reality hits me and I regain full awareness and I slowly become speechless and dead inside.
In our beautiful religion of Islam we are taught the door of heaven lies beneath the feet of your mother. We are taught that daughters are the source of immeasurable joy for their parents. Long before a daughter is born, she is deeply loved.
Daughters are often a mother’s best friend, her ally and her most precious treasure. For a father, a daughter is often the heart of his soul, his princess. It is no surprise therefore that a parent’s love for a daughter is so intense and selfless. My love for my princess was just that, intense and selfless.
The two people that Ayesha trusted and loved were the very people that took away her life. When my princess died, a part of our lives did too. We never knew how hard it was to loose someone you love.
In my heart our princess Ayesha shall forever remain.