Polly Chowdhury, 35, and Kiki Muddar, 43, were tried for the murder of Chowdhury’s daughter, Ayesha Ali, at their home in Chadwell Heath, east London, in August 2013.
Yesterday a jury at the Old Bailey cleared them of murder but found them guilty of manslaughter by a majority of 10-2 after deliberating for more than 31 hours.
Both women held their heads in their hands as the verdicts were delivered, while Ayesha’s father, Afsar Ali, looked on. The 35-year-old said he could not forgive his former wife for falling under the spell of Muddar who the court heard had created a set of fictional characters to seduce Chowdhury and turn her against her own child.
Muddar bombarded Chowdhury with more than 40,000 texts, telling her: “You have no right to ever love or like your evil daughter.”
She told Chowdhury that Ayesha was “evil” and had “bad blood”, and repeatedly encouraged her to discipline the child.
In a recorded phone conversation with a friend the month before the killing, Muddar described Ayesha as “pure evil” and a “witch” and threatened to drown her in the bath.
Days before the killing, the couple, both horror film fans, terrorised Ayesha by taking it in turns to wear a scary mask.
A neighbour heard Ayesha screaming and pleading with her mother: “Amah, I don’t want to be bad, Amah, Amah, I don’t want to be bad.”
On the morning of 29 August 2013, Muddar dialled 999 to report that Chowdhury had tried to kill herself in the bath and that Ayesha was dead.
Paramedics discovered the child “cold and stiff” in her bedroom, dressed only in a pair of pink pants.
Although the cause of Ayesha’s death was a head injury, she had suffered more than 40 injuries, including a bite mark.
Chowdhury left a series of notes, appearing to admit the killing, saying: “I have taken my life and Ayesha’s life.”
But during the course of the investigation, police discovered evidence implicating Muddar in Ayesha’s death.
Officers unravelled a set of alter egos on Facebook and in text messages which Muddar had created to control and seduce Chowdhury, encouraging her to discipline her daughter because she saw her as a threat. Muddar had first befriended Chowdhury when they lived next door to each other and she won her sympathy by pretending to be fighting cancer.
Chowdhury’s husband moved the family to get away from Muddar but she followed and supplanted him in the marital bed, leading to the breakdown of the marriage.
Meanwhile, Muddar spun a web of lies and deceit through her fake personas, including Chowdhury’s “cyber boyfriend” Jimmy.
She was also behind a fake Muslim spirit guide, Skyman, used to prey on Chowdhury’s belief in ghosts and messages from beyond the grave. Muddar, who claimed to work as an engineer for the Olympics, expressed her hatred for the child in a series of phone calls and texts, of which she kept copies, and even blamed Ayesha for making her cancer worse, the court heard.
Judge Christopher Moss QC remanded the women in custody for sentencing tomorrow.
Mr Ali, who described Ayesha as his “sunshine” and “closest friend”, said: “The child you [Chowdhury] gave birth to – to take her life away – that is something I can never forgive.
“There are only two people I blame – that’s her and Kiki.”
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