In a heartbreaking case presented at an inquest, it was revealed that a young mother, Verphy Kudi, allowed her 20-month-old daughter, Asiah Kudi, to starve to death while she embarked on a nearly six-day birthday celebration with friends. The inquest further disclosed that Verphy had been a heavy user of cannabis.
The distressing events unfolded in December 2019 when Verphy, aged 18 at the time, left her baby alone in their Brighton flat and embarked on a partying spree that took her over 150 miles away to London, Coventry, and Solihull. Upon her return five days, 21 hours, and 58 minutes later, she tragically discovered Asiah lifeless in her cot.
Initially, Verphy informed friends and family that her daughter had been unwell and had failed to wake up for her meals. However, a subsequent post-mortem examination revealed that Asiah had died from dehydration, starvation, and the effects of flu. Verphy later admitted to one count of manslaughter and was sentenced to nine years in prison in August 2021.
During the ongoing inquest into Asiah’s death, it was revealed that Verphy had a challenging childhood, marked by domestic violence, which left her traumatized and suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to Dr. Frank Farnham, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who evaluated Verphy, she had been using cannabis at a “harmful” level, employing the Class B drug as a means of self-medication during times of anxiety and depression. Dr. Farnham further noted that Verphy’s excessive cannabis use had taken a toll on her physical health, told Daily Mail.
The inquest shed light on Verphy’s depersonalization and derealization, conditions characterized by feelings of detachment from oneself and the surrounding world. Verphy also exhibited dissociative behavior, resulting in a loss of temporal awareness. Friends of Verphy attested that in the month leading up to Asiah’s tragic demise, the young mother frequently joined them for clubbing and music concerts.
The inquest also revealed that social workers had expressed concerns about Verphy’s care in the weeks prior to Asiah’s death. Incidents captured on CCTV at the supported housing unit where Verphy and Asiah lived had raised alarm about the young mother’s ability to provide proper care for her daughter. Social workers were alerted after witnessing footage of Verphy leaving Asiah’s home alone. The footage also showed Verphy returning to her flat in an intoxicated and unconscious state, carried by a male friend.
Despite these concerning incidents, the case was not referred to the appropriate authorities with expertise in child safeguarding. Verphy had a history of fabricating her whereabouts, not only to social workers but also to her own mother. Shockingly, it was later discovered that Verphy had left Asiah alone in the flat on at least a dozen occasions.
As the inquest unfolds, it aims to reach a conclusion this week, shedding light on the circumstances surrounding Asiah Kudi’s tragic death. The case serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences that neglect and substance abuse can have on innocent lives.