Verphy Kudi left her 1-year-old baby home alone for six days as she partied for her 18th birthday in London, Coventry, and Solihull. As Kudi was drinking on her six-day binge, her daughter, Asiah, starved to death in a devastating incident that has authorities sick to their stomachs. Now an investigation has revealed that social workers had concerns about the teen mom before her baby was found dead.
According to a pre-inquest hearing at Brighton Coroners’ Court, young Asiah had been left alone dozens of times before the fatal incident. Brighton and Hove City Council are now under fire for their reckless care for the 1-year-old girl, along with the YMCA that Verphy Kudi and her daughter were staying at.
During the pre-inquest hearing, the coroner explained that “what I’m concerned about is the care that Asiah had during her short life. There were concerns [the mother] was leaving her for periods of time.” Reports claimed that the formal inquest will look into Brighton and Hove City County and the YMCA for its alleged neglect of the teen mom and her 1-year-old baby.
Assistant Coroner Karen Henderson explained that “the inquest will look at issues and circumstances in the past where [Asiah] has been left. I need information on the overall care that was provided to Asiah and her mother from [Brighton and Hove City Council].”
Verphy Kudi was originally charged with manslaughter after she left her daughter in “unimaginable suffering” while partying for her 18th birthday. When she returned home from the six-day binge, Kudi found her daughter dead in their Brighton YMCA apartment. The teen mother spent three hours trying to cover up the crime before eventually dialing emergency services.
Asiah was pronounced dead on Dec. 11, 2019, at Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton and her mother was sentenced to nine years in prison. During Kudi’s trial, it was revealed that the teen mom was a happy child growing up “whose laughter would light up the whole house.” It was when she turned 14 years old that she became withdrawn. She ditched school and would go missing for days at a time.
Eventually social services stepped in. Verphy Kudi was assigned a social worker and placed in safe housing in Norfolk. Authorities became concerned when Kudi became involved in child sexual exploitation. She got pregnant and was moved back to Brighton. A young teen at the time, the pregnant Kudi was placed in foster care. Her daughter was born on March 22, 2019, and was placed on a child protection plan.
The pair moved around a few times before they were placed at the Brighton YMCA. Verphy Kudi was one of eight troubled youth that lived in the complex. According to officials, the YMCA home was run by the YMCA DownsLink charity on behalf of Brighton City Council.
The staff at the YMCA are supposed to offer a “medium to low” level of support to families living in the units, however, employees are not permitted to check in on the individual apartments. During her trial, it was revealed that after moving into the YMCA, Verphy Kudi began leaving her child for long periods of time to go to parties. The pair had moved into the YMCA three months before the shocking incident, however, Kudi had left Asiah alone six other times throughout the period.
According to Geoffrey Weddell from the YMCA, “the YMCA has the tenancy agreement, tenancy specification, notes of contacts made with the mother giving a day-by-day account of what was seen and said and what was going on at that time. The YMCA provided support limited to two hours a week. Most of the time, it wouldn’t be aware of day-to-day events to do with mother and daughter.”
He continued, saying that “the YMCA is primarily an accommodation provider.” Despite the representative’s argument, Jacqueline Madders, who spoke for Mrs. Betrane, Asiah’s grandmother, asked whether the death could have been prevented.
Madders specified her question, asking whether the YMCA and its services could have done more “given the history” of the case, to prevent Asiah’s horrific death.
According to the coroner, the inquest will explore those possibilities. “The inquest will look at the wider circumstances surrounding [the child’s] death. The medical cause of death, the Post Mortem, toxicology, and past medical history. The direct and wider circumstances surrounding Asiah’s death.”
The formal inquest is scheduled for March 2022 and will last three days, according to reports. Verphy Kudi is being held at HMP Bronzefield while she serves her nine-year sentence.
During her sentencing in August, Judge Christine Laing QC said that “Asiah was alone in that flat for six days – less two hours – unable to do anything to draw attention to her plight. She was a helpless child and relied completely on you as her mother to provide for her needs.”
The judge continued, saying that “it is almost unbearable to contemplate her suffering in the final days of her life, suffering that she endured so that you could celebrate your birthday and the birthdays of your friends as a carefree teenager.”
She concluded, explaining that “it goes without saying that this is a particularly tragic case and it no doubt raises strong emotions in all who hear of it, but everyone should bear in mind that the charge I sentence you for is one of manslaughter, it being accepted that you did not intend to cause Asiah death nor to cause her really serious harm.”