Neighbour heard screams in days leading up to Ayesha Ali’s death
The neighbour of a mother accused of murdering her eight-year-old daughter heard “piercing” screams from the house just days before she was found dead.
Polly Chowdhury, 35, and girlfriend Kiki Muddar, 43, of Green Lane, Ilford, deny killing Ms Chowdhury’s daughter Ayesha Ali at their flat in Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath.
During the second week of the trial at the Old Bailey, the girl’s grieving father Afsar Ali wept in court as a statement from his ex-wife’s neighbour was read out.
Ann Dodds said she awoke to a child’s screams in the middle of the night just days before the alleged murder.
“It was loud, piercing screaming, distressed screaming,” Ann Dodds’ statement said.
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At the time she thought the child had a nightmare, but the following night she said she heard “sorrowful sobbing”.
“I could hear a child pleading and sobbing,” he said. “Then the child spoke loud enough for me to hear a sentence.
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Ms Dodds said she heard: “Amma, I don’t want to be bad.”
A paramedic told the trial Muddar had claimed the girl had self-harmed and tried to drown herself.
London Ambulance paramedic Laura Ward said Ayesha Ali was already dead when she arrived at the young girl’s home.
Her mother Polly Chowdhury, 35, of Bedwell Court, Broomfield Road, Chadwell Heath, and girlfriend Kiki Muddar, 43, of Green Lane, Ilford, both deny murder, manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of a child.
“She stated Ayesha was a naughty child and Polly thought Ayesha had been possessed by the devil,” Ms Ward told the court on Monday.
“She said she refused to make her bed and that she was lazy.”
Muddar called 999 at around 11.30am on August 29 2013, but when paramedics arrived minutes later Ayesha was already dead.
Ms Ward said: “She was naked on the floor lying face up. She had a pair of knickers on.
“I noticed she had bruises over most of her body I could see. There were scuff marks on her knees and vomit near her on the carpet. I also noticed she had wet herself.”
The court heard Ms Chowdhury told a prison officer Ayesha was forced to take a cold bath as punishment for wetting herself.
Ms Chowdhury said she was using her laptop when Ms Muddar told her: “I think she’s drowned.”
“Polly said she went into the bathroom and the girl was under the water,” HMP Holloway prison officer Lisa Donohue said.
“She noticed there was some blood coming from her head. At the time she didn’t know how the girl got the blow to the head, she now believed Kiki had done it.”
During the same conversation in June last year – 10 months after the alleged murder – Ms Chowdhury admitted beating her children because “she was made to believe her children were evil and bad”.
Jurors were shown a video of Muddar being interviewed by police initially as a witness following the death of Ayesha Ali.
She wept as she told how she called 999 after finding Ayesha in the bath. The trial continues.