Ayesha Ali murder trial: Mum accused of killing daughter was ‘perfect mother’

Ashraf Ali leaving the Old Bailey today. Picture: Steve Poston

Ashraf Ali leaving the Old Bailey today. Picture: Steve Poston - Credit: Archant

A mum accused of killing her eight-year-old daughter seemed “possessed”, a court has heard.

Polly Chowdhury, 35, was “the perfect mother” but everything changed when she met Kiki Muddar, according to her estranged husband Afsar Ali.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey this morning, he described how he attempted to save his marriage by moving the family from Chadwell Heath to Dagenham in 2011 to get away from the “horrible woman” who had blighted their lives.

His voice trembled as he explained how Ms Muddar set out to provoke arguments that led to the breakdown of their marriage in December 2012.

“I wanted to get away from Kiki – I wanted my family to be away from her,” he said.

Ms Muddar, 43, and Ms Chowdhury, 35, are jointly accused of killing eight-year-old Ayesha Ali, who was found dead on the floor of her bedroom in the flat the women shared in Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath, on August 29, 2013.

Mr Ali admitted to having doubts as to whether Ms Muddar actually suffered from cancer, as she claimed, and was “devastated” when she came to stay during Ramadan in 2012.

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It was at this time that he was “kicked out of bed” by Ms Chowdhury.

“At the back of mind I had doubts [about her alleged illness] because her family lived literally five minutes from where she lived,” he said.

“I was worried and a bit confused as to why she came.”

The court heard that Mr Ali met his ex-wife while he was at Feltham young offenders institute and she was working in admin for the firm representing him.

Both had previously had unhappy arranged marriages and when he was released from prison he helped her move away from an abusive ex-husband before starting a relationship with her.

In a witness statement, he described her as being a very giving person and “the perfect mother”.

“We never hit any of our children as punishment – I never saw Polly strike the children,” he said. “If I shouted, it was Polly who would tell me not to.”

They spoke of having more children together and made future plans together before they broke up.

Both women deny murder and alternative charges of manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of a child between March and August 2013.

The trial continues.