Father who walked out on daughter a year before her mother let her starve to death wins legal aid to sue council
He hadn’t seen his seven-year-old daughter for more than a year.
But after she starved to death at the hands of her mother and the woman’s boyfriend he was quick to criticise the authorities for their failure to help.
Now Ishaq Abuzaire, 38, who had walked out on Khyra and five other children to set up home with another woman, has been given legal aid to sue his local council.
Appalling cruelty: Khyra lost 40 per cent of her body weight before dying and now her father ishaq Abuzaire is launching legal action against the council involved in her protection
Despite admitting his own feelings of guilt in the aftermath of Khyra’s death three years ago, Mr Abuzaire has launched legal action against Birmingham City Council over a catalogue of failings in the run up to the tragedy. He will claim a five-figure sum in compensation.
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Khyra Ishaq’s mother, Angela Gordon, 35, was jailed for 15 years last year while her schizophrenic boyfriend, Junaid Abuhamza, was given an indeterminate sentence with a seven-and-a-half year minimum. Both admitted manslaughter.
Birmingham Crown Court heard that despite the fridge being well-stocked with food, Khyra had lost 40 per cent of her body weight when she died and weighed only 2st 9lb.
She had been reduced to scavenging bread from a neighbour’s bird table because the pair kept their kitchen at the house in the city’s deprived Handsworth suburb bolted shut in a ‘behavioural code’.
Khyra was also beaten with a cane and forced to stand outside in her underwear for hours.
A serious case review found she died after a catalogue of ‘missed opportunities’ by social workers and other agencies.
Social services were first alerted to concerns about Khyra by her head in December 2007 when she was caught stealing another child’s lunch.
Mr Abuzaire, who was born Delroy Francis but changed his name after converting to Islam, is fighting for full custody of his surviving five children.
His solicitor, Tony Hall, confirmed he was investigating a claim on behalf of Mr Abuzaire and the five children against the council for ‘negligence and breach of statutory duty’.
If it is successful, the children would be expected to win a far bigger payout than Mr Abuzaire.
The money would be held in court funds but if their father wins full custody, the court could release some or all of the cash to him if it could be shown the money would be used towards their welfare.
Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said: ‘Everybody knows there were many errors made in this case, in terms of social services’ failure to investigate vigorously enough what was going on behind closed doors.
‘But Mr Abuzaire could have made more effort to maintain contact with his children.’ Mr Abuzaire, from Nechells, Birmingham, has two children with his second wife Carolina. He did not return calls about the legal action.
Speaking in the aftermath of Khyra’s death, he admitted: ‘Of course I feel guilty. I have failed my child because my child is in the morgue.’
But responding to the findings of the serious case review last summer, he laid the blame squarely at the door of Birmingham’s social services department for making ‘one disastrous decision after another’.
Neglect: The Birmingham home where Khyra lived and died