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Image: Metropolitan Police

Ayesha's father: 'When my princess died, a part of our lives did too'

Her mother and another woman were jailed today for the eight-year-old’s manslaughter.
Mar 6th 2015, 5:17 PM 14,622 19

POLLY CHOWDHURY HAS been jailed for 13 years in London after being found guilty of killing her eight-year-old daughter Ayesha Ali.

Another woman, who lived with them, Kiki Muddar (43) was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Both were found guilty of the manslaughter in a case that has shocked police who investigated the girl’s death for two years.

The court had heard how Ayesha had been subjected to sustained physical and mental abuse in the months leading up to her death.

Timeline

The two women first met in 2007 when the Chowdhry family – including Polly (now 35) and her husband Afsar – moved into a property neighbouring Muddar.

muddar Kiki Muddar and Polly Chowdhury

The pair struck up a friendship which grew in intensity as the older woman invented stories to illicit sympathy. She told Polly that she was suffering from cancer and that her husband had died during the London riots.

As this relationship developed, the Chowdhury’s marriage deteriorated. When they moved again in 2011, Muddar followed. A year later, Chowdhury left her husband and two months later she was living with Muddar.

According to police, now that the husband was “out of the picture”, Muddar was able to develop two fictitious characters who she used to manipulate Polly and affect her relationship with her daughter.

Through Facebook, she created a man called Jimmy Chowdhury and continued an online relationship with Polly. Police believe that she wanted to marry him.

A second character, Skyman, was portrayed as a guiding spirit who conversed with Polly about her daughter through text messages.

Muddar worked to convince Polly that Ayesha’s “cold demeanour towards her would impact her and Jimmy’s health”. Meanwhile, ‘Skyman’ would send messages telling Polly to punish her daughter for acts deemed to be bad behaviour. These texts were then supported by both Jimmy and Muddar.

In the months before her death, the pattern escalated and Ayesha was forced to scrub the house, miss meals, take cold baths and spend hours shut in her room.

Two documents, written by the little girl, were found in her bedroom after her death. One, described as a ‘naughty list’, shows a list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviours.

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A second, a letter written by Ayesha, is a worrying monologue about how she can make herself change so she doesn’t get punished anymore.

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Police do not know when the physical abuse of the little girl started but on the morning of 28 August 2013, Muddar left their house and sent a text to Polly: “Has something happened? My hearts going mental?”

Later that day, she came back to the house with a new shower hose. Police believe a new one was required because the existing one was used to assault Ayesha. She stayed in the house until 9pm. She returned the following day at 11am and called 999 thirty minutes later to say that Chowdhury had cut her wrists.

When London Ambulance Service crew arrived they found Ayesha’s lifeless body on the bedroom floor. It was obvious that she was dead for some time.

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A post-mortem exam revealed Ayesha had 56 separate injuries, including a bite mark on her shoulder and fresh bruising on her head, body and limbs.

When paramedics spoke to Muddar at the scene, she showed no concern for the little girl. “Ayesha is always naughty,” she told them. “She was a naughty child and Mum thought she was possessed by the Devil.”

Chowdhury was taken to hospital for treatment and police picked up a number of letters and notes from the flat. One claimed she had taken Ayesha’s life after her daughter had tried to drown herself in the bath.

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Investigation

Muddar was initially treated as a significant witness but once the investigation developed, detectives began to see she had played a “full and active part in the abuse”.

During the probe, officers recovered and analysed 140,000 lines of text from messaging apps and emails, 40,000 messages from a laptop, 1,450 voice recordings backed up on Muddar’s phone and 17,000 pages of Facebook messages.

One of the calls found was made by Muddar to a friend on the 3 July. On the audio, she can be heard repeatedly saying that she was going to kill Ayesha.

Muddar and Chowdhury were arrested and charged with murder and causing or allowing serious harm to a child.

They were sent forward for trial and found guilty on Wednesday.

Reaction

Following today’s sentencing, Detective Inspector Donna Convery said she had never come across a case of this nature.

“It took us months to unpick and investigate the web of lies that Kiki Muddar had constructed. Through the use of specialist officers we were able to evidence beyond doubt the roles that both these women played in emotionally and physically abusing Ayesha.”

She described the victim as a “bright and intelligent little girl who was well liked by teachers and classmates”.

“In the six months before her death Ayesha was subjected to horrific levels of mental abuse, which during the summer holidays escalated to become physical. She was an innocent child who was caught up in the most bizarre set of events, manipulated by two adults who were intent on causing her harm.

Ayesha should have been protected by the one woman she thought she could trust but her mother, Polly Chowdhury, allowed herself to be influenced by Muddar so that sustained mental and finally physical abuse could be inflicted on her daughter.

“Muddar went to extremely sophisticated and complex lengths to construct a number of fictitious characters, through whom she exercised her influence on Chowdhury to harm her child.

“What the motivation behind this campaign of abuse was remains unclear. What is painfully clear, however, is that Ayesha, an eight-year-old girl, has had her life taken away in horribly brutal circumstances.”

Other family

Ayesha’s father, Afsar Ali, also issued a heartbreaking statement today following the court hearing.

“This has been the hardest and most difficult thing that I have ever had to do in my life,” he said.

“It is impossible for me to sum up what has happened in the last couple of years. It is impossible to find the words to describe my feelings.

“On Thursday 29 August 2013 our world fell apart. Everything that had happened over the past few years collapsed in a blink of an eye. Our world crumbled right in front of us.

I lost a battle I never agreed to fight. I cry every night; each teardrop engraves yet another scar. The saddest part is that I have to put up with another day, every day shielding my suffering inside.

“For moments in my life I block the world out completely and I try to only think about Ayesha, my princess, her smile, her presence, her words and her kisses. The reality hits me and I regain full awareness and I slowly become speechless and dead inside.

“In our beautiful religion of Islam we are taught the door of heaven lies beneath the feet of your mother. We are taught that daughters are the source of immeasurable joy for their parents. Long before a daughter is born, she is deeply loved.

“Daughters are often a mother’s best friend, her ally and her most precious treasure. For a father, a daughter is often the heart of his soul, his princess. It is no surprise therefore that a parent’s love for a daughter is so intense and selfless. My love for my princess was just that, intense and selfless.

“The two people that Ayesha trusted and loved were the very people that took away her life. When my princess died, a part of our lives did too. We never knew how hard it was to loose someone you love.

“In my heart our princess Ayesha shall forever remain.”

Read: Girl killed by mother and girlfriend had 56 separate injuries

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Sinead O'Carroll

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