In August 2013 eight year old Ayesha Ali was found dead in her bedroom, having sustained more than 50 injuries. A post-mortem found that Ayesha died as a result of damage to her head, caused by a blow or series of blows, on 29th August 2013. Her body showed signs of prolonged abuse; carpet burns and even a bite mark.
Ayesha’s mother, Polly Chowdhury, 35, and her girfriend Kiki Muddar, 43, have today been convicted of manslaughter, by a majority of 10-2, by a jury sitting at the Old Bailey. The pair were cleared of murder. The jury retired to consider their verdict on 19th February, and spent over 31 hours deliberating.
The jury heard that Muddar was disgusted by Ayesha, who endured prolonged abuse as a result.
Muddar met Chowdhury when she moved next door to Ayesha’s family in 2007. Muddar befrended Chowdhury, and sought sympathy from her by pretending to have cancer.
Ayesha’s father, Afsar Ali, moved the family away from Muddar, but she tracked Chowdhury down, prompting the breakdown of her marriage.
Over time Muddar used Facebook updates and over 40,000 text messages to manipulate Chowdhury into believing that her daughter had evil spirits inside her and needed to be disciplined. One text read “You have no right to ever love or like your evil daughter”, describing her as “pure evil” and a witch. She even blamed Ayesha for making her fictional cancer worse and threatened to drown her in the bath.
A psychiatrist told the Court that Muddar had not been delusional in her actions, and fully understood what she was doing:
“She was rational in her judgments in having a disgust with Ayesha. She did not like Polly Chowdhury putting Ayesha above her interests,” he said.
“However immoral, abhorrent and illegal her judgment, it was rational… there is no question of either defendant having been mad.”
In Chowdhury’s evidence she admitted that the pair smaked Ayesha and his her with a wooden spoon, because “Skyman” an alias “spirit” created by Muddar, told them to in a text message.
The pair will be sentenced on Friday 6th March.