Khyra Ishaq
May 2, 2001 - May 17, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial

How is it possible that in a home where the fridge and cupboards were fully stocked with food, that a child could starve to death? Khyra Ishaq is proof that it can happen. Living in a home with her mother, Angela Gordon and her live in boyfriend, Junaid Abuhamza along with five other children, Khyra had no chance of surviving. It is not known how or why Khyra was the only child to die in a home which had been visited many times by the Birmingham City Council's Social Services, who seemed to find nothing wrong with the children who had been withdrawn from school and were getting thinner by the day.

When she died, Khyra, who was seven years old, weighed only 37 pounds. Food in the home was adequate enough to feed the children and the two adults, however, meal times meant one bowl of food for six children and usually consisted of things such as eggs, beans, rice and maybe some fruit, not enough to feed six children. Two of the other children in the home were also malnourished to the point of almost dying.

In 1995, Ishaq Abu-Zaire married Angela Gordon, the two would have six children together, including Khyra. At some point, Ishaq decided that he was going to marry a second time, which was allowed in his faith. Angela did not like the idea and the couple went their separate ways. At that time, Angela started seeing Junaid, who was a friend of Ishaq's, without telling him. The two dated in secret until Ishaq found out and talked to Junaid about it:

"Things got ugly when I found out they were together. I confronted him outside a pub
near the mosque one day and told him to give me back the keys to Angela's car. He
refused and got aggressive and we got in to a scuffle. I know I shouldn't have done it,
but something snapped and I ended up knocking him through a pub window. i was
arrested and convicted of criminal damage and assault and battery. That made it difficult
for me to approach them. I tried, but they would threaten to call the police. I looked like
the jealous ex. They were deceptive people. I turned up once and confronted her about
school because I had been waiting to see them. She assured me that they were going
and even produced one of the children in a uniform, who I spoke to"

The cupboards containing food in the home, were kept locked so the children could not take food without permission. Any child caught taking food inside the home would be forced to stand outside in the cold, would be beaten and would be forced to eat so much food that they would vomit. A neighbor spoke of how Khyra had taken bread out of her bird feeder, to eat it herself. Angela lied and said that Khyra was fed enough food at home, she was able to fool people. In January of 2000, Suraj Ahmed, a doctor at the city hospital, took care of one of the boys from the home, he was also seven, when teachers at his school reported that he was always looking for food in the cupboards at school and even stole food from the plates of the other children, he was underweight.

The doctor stated that the child was not getting enough food and needed more calories and suggested to Angela
that she get a dietitian for this child. Angela ignored the doctor and told the school NOT to feed the boy any snacks unless she had approved it first. When this child was admitted to the hospital for a short time, he was always asking for food and looking for more food.

One of the other children in the home, a girl who was 12 years old spoke about a time when Khyra had been caught taking food:

"Khyra stole bread from the kitchen or something from the cooker. Junaid told her "You've
won a prize, you've got a nice treat", he gave her a jar of chocolate and told her to eat it all.
It made her feel really ill and it made her vomit".

One of the other children could remember Khyra, asleep, on the lap of her mother about two days before she died. The child says that Angela was spraying Khyra's face with water, but the little girl did not wake up. Before she died, the children say they could see her bones when she was sleeping. During this time, the other children were being home schooled and any wrong answer would bring about punishment. Punishment could be many things and was often being beaten with a cane. The children in the home could be heard crying and asking to be "let out", on a regular basis. A neighbor also said that she saw Khyra outside in the back yard, dressed in only her underwear, before her death. Why didn't this neighbor call police RIGHT THEN AND THERE!?!

Ishaq found about the death of his daughter when he was sent a text message from a friend, while visiting the family of his second wife, in Spain:

"I'm so sorry about Khyra"

Was all the text said.

A Forensic Pathologist did a post mortem examination on Khyra and said that at least 60 marks were found on her body and at least 34 of those could have been from up to a week before her death. Of the 60 or more marks on her body, at least eight of those were said to have been made by a cane. The doctor who examined her body, Roger Malcolmson said:

"It was shocking, in fact, to see her for the first time"

Describing her condition, the doctor said that he had never seen anyone with that high of a fat loss. Khyra's elbow joints were extremely prominent and her face was badly sunken in with little skin and her jawbone was also very prominent.

Khyra's Grandmother, Eartha Gordon said she had not seen Khyra since January of 2008 and that Angela seemed to always have an excuse why she could not come over:

"She would say one of the children was sick or had the Flu. One time she said they were
decorating, that the place was a mess and it was not suitable for anyone to come around"

Eartha said that though she had met Junaid at one point, she had never been aware of his living in the home with her daughter.

In court, it would come out that Junaid had grown up in an abusive home in which he was punished by being denied food and that he had also been caught stealing food at home. Junaid's father had supposedly beaten his three year old sister to death when she forgot to flush the toilet, Junaid was five years old at the time and watched it happen. It was also revealed that he had a strong belief in evil spirits and Angela was said to be feisty and very outspoken though totally dependent on any men in her life. At one point in her life, Angela decided that she needed to start eating healthier foods and it became an issue when she was unable to understand that while she could eat healthier and lose weight, she should NOT expect her children to do the same as it was not good for them to lose weight at their ages. Khyra once told a teacher that she would be given good porridge if she had behaved and bad porridge if she been bad. Detective Inspector Sean Russell, who did the investigation into Khyra's death, stated that even the strongest of his officers had cried when they learned the nature of her death and he though that Khyra had been kept as a prisoner in her room:

"The very people who should have been looking after Khyra, her mother and Junaid Abuhamza,
killed her through systematic abuse"


Flowers left outside the home where Khyra died.

Sean said that Khyra had suffered beatings and had been kept away from the other children in the home:

"The defendants created a situation in which the children, who were being educated at home,
had been
kept away from their extended family, friends and the outside world. They were also prevented from doing the things that an ordinary child does. Khyra's untimely death was ultimately caused by an overwhelming infection brought on by sever malnutrition, a cause of death you don't expect to see in the Western world, let alone Birmingham, in the 21st century"



In June of 2009, Junaid denied murdering Khyra, though he plead guilty to charges of child cruelty in the case of the other five children in the home. Angela denied murder and any child abuse on any of the children which is said to have taken place between December of 2007 and May of 2008. In February of 2010, Junaid, who was 30 years old at the time of Khyra's death and Angel, who was 35 at the time, both plead guilty to manslaughter in the death of Khyra.

Junaid was said to have been suffering from Schizophrenia and claimed that the home they lived in as well as Khyra, were both possessed by evil spirits. Psychiatrists have labeled his situation, that is his Schizophrenia as well as the abuse he suffered as a child as "multiple jeopardy". Adding to the problem was the fact that Junaid was a heavy Cannabis user:

"Where there's a person with Schizophrenia who also misuses drugs then the risk of harming others
is markedly elevated"
Professor Femi Oyebode

Professor Oyebode stated that he was a bit shocked that Junaid was not being monitored by a mental health team and that was not on any medication at all.

Psychiatrists reports that Angela was suffering from depression, caused the Crown to accept her plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Michael Burrows QC, her counsel, said that the Psychiatrists agreed that due to her being in a state of depression, she was not able to function properly as a mother. Marin Lindop, of the Crown Prosecution, stated that the pleas had been accepted because of the results of the Psychiatrists reports:

"As a result of the content of a number of Psychiatric reports, which we received at a very late
state in the case, we concluded that the charge of murder in relation to Khyra Ishaq could not
longer be sustained"

REALLY? Then lock them in a mental institution for life, don't let them out to abuse or kill any more children because they are depressed or seeing demons. Don't make the death of this child be for nothing. Lock them up and throw the keys away. Clearly they are a danger to others!

Shockingly to me, Khyra's biological father said:

"I think  manslaughter was the right decision and the right outcome".

Ishaq Abu-Zaire

In March of 2010, Mr. Justice Roderick Evens sentenced Angela to ONLY 15 years for what she did to Khyra and

Junaid was sentenced to an indefinite time, in order to protect the public. Junaid would serve a minimum of seven
and a half years for what he did to this precious Angel. I never have to wonder why so many people abuse and kill
their children, they KNOW they are going to get away with little, if any time, at all.

More than six months after she died, Khyra was finally laid to rest. Ishaq Abu Zaire, her father and five other men
carried her child sized casket into the Mosque, after the weekly, Friday morning prayer. After the service, Ishaq
called his daughter wonderful and beautiful and said she could now rest in peace. Khyra's Grandmother had died
and was buried the week before and he had kind things to say about her as well.





Khyra's father says he prays for Khyra on a regular basis and visits her graveside which is marked by a simple,
wooden marker. Ishaq says Islamic belief is to leave things simple:

"We do not believe in extravagant graves. We want this to be a place where we come to pray for
Khyra and remember her. As long as people know it is a grave with a simple marking, that is
enough for us"



Flowers and a note are on the grave, the note says, "Sleeping with the angels a beautiful flower in the garden of rest".  Ishaq did not know who had left the note.

Ishaq said:

"I don't think there has been any justice for my Khyra. None of these claims of mental illness
were even raised in the family proceedings or the first trial. Junaid took the stand and made it
clear that he knew what he was doing. I heard about how he was abused as a child and, of course,
I have great sympathy for that. It should never happen to any child, but it does not excuse him for his
actions. Junaid is a dangerous man and I hope they keep him in prison for a long time"



Ishaq made comments about findings from the High Court Judge who presided in the family proceedings from March. Ishaq said that findings revealed errors and missed opportunities, by Social Services, to help Khyra:

"I knew all of the detail, but I have been stifled and I was surprised when it did come out in the mail.
I just don't know what it is going to take before somebody in authority takes responsibility for what
happened to Khyra. Ultimately it was Junaid and Angela who did these awful things, but the council
was involved in the case".

In March of 2011,  Ishaq decided to sue the Council. Tony Hall said that he was representing Ishaq:

"I am investigating a claim against Birmingham City Council of a negligence and breach of
statutory
duty"

On the company web site was the following statement:

"The impact on the family both physically and psychologically has been immense and careful
analysis of the issues involved is being undertaken to properly quantify the claims whilst matters
are progressing and also relating to family proceedings"

Death occurred in England

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