Khyra Ishaq Starvation Death ‘Was Social Services Failure’

Social services face questions about their failure to act after a seven-year-old girl who allegedly starved to death through neglect.

Khyra Ishaq was found with her five brothers and sisters living in squalid conditions in a house in Birmingham. Critically ill, she was taken to hospital but died hours later, while the rest of the children were treated for emaciation.

Angela Gordon, 33, and 29-year-old Junaid Abuhamza – believed to be her mother and step-father – appeared before magistrates on Monday, charged with neglect and were remanded in custody.

Birmingham Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood called for an investigation into the city’s social services after it emerged that Khyra and the other children had been taken out of school nearly three months ago amid claims of bullying.

“There are structural issues here within the local authority that need to be addressed,” he said.

“I will be asking the local authority at the first available opportunity to account for their inaction. There are lessons to be learned here – we have to be far more stringent with people who don’t take their children to school.”

Mr Mahmood, who is writing to the chief executive of Birmingham City Council, said he had been told that an educational social worker visited Khyra’s home after the children were removed from school, but no further follow-up checks took place.

“I just find that amazing. It just beggars belief that we have allowed this to happen, especially when an educational social worker has been once… and then no action at all,” he said.

Sources have said the youngster is believed to have died of starvation, although police say the cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

West Midlands Police said in a statement: “We can confirm that a seven-year-old girl was taken to hospital on Saturday 17 May, where she was pronounced dead.

“Her cause of death has not been confirmed at this stage.

“Police are conducting inquiries and a man aged 29 and a woman aged 33 have been charged with neglect and appeared before Birmingham Magistrates on May 19.

“They have been remanded to appear again on 28 May. As proceedings are active, we cannot comment further at this time.”

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said they were fully supporting a police inquiry into the matter.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of this child and our sympathies go to the child’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“This death is now the subject of a police inquiry and Birmingham City Council are fully supporting the investigation.”