Ayesha horror: Public must be alert to abuse

Ayesha Ali

Ayesha Ali - Credit: Archant

A children’s charity has spoken out over the “appalling abuse” suffered by little Ayesha Ali after her mother and her partner were convicted of killing the eight-year-old.

Chris Cloke, NSPCC’s head of child protection, said her death was a “stark reminder that we all have to look out for children”.

His comments came after Ayesha’s mother Polly Chowdhury and her lover Kiki Muddar were jailed for manslaughter over the youngster’s death in August 2013.

Speaking to the Recorder, Mr Cloke said: “This is a horrific case where a helpless child suffered appalling abuse from those trusted to care for her.

“It’s all about public awareness, alertness and recognising that we all have a role to play in protecting children.”

Ayesha, who lived with Chowdhury and Muddar in Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath, hid her torment, which included being hit with a wooden spoon, subjected to cold baths as punishment for wetting herself and being forced to perform gruelling chores.

She put on a brave face to mask her troubles at school, with teachers unaware the popular and intelligent little girl, who was a school councillor, was suffering at home.

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Last week Barking and Dagenham Council launched a “serious case review” and admitted the little girl was not known to its safeguarding service.

Chowdhury and Muddar were sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday following a month-long trial and 31 hours of jury deliberations.

Chowdhury, 35, cried as she was handed 13 years behind bars, while Muddar, 43, appeared defiant as she was given 18.

Judge Christopher Moss QC said: “Ayesha was subjected to a life of cruelty and misery that defies belief – this was a dreadful and horrible case of unbelievable cruelty.”

He branded their actions a “form of torture” and said Muddar manipulated Chowdhury.

“Kiki Muddar, you bear the lion’s share of responsibility,” he said.

“You came into that family and tore it apart.

“You manipulated the child’s mother in a way that can only be regarded as despicable.”

Speaking in defence of Chowdhury, Ali Bajwa QC said Muddar treated her like a “puppet”.

If you are an adult with any issues or concerns, visit nspcc.org.uk

You can also call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.