Khyra Ishaq

Prepare yourself for an angry rant, because this story I just read about on BBC really ticked me off:

Khyra Ishaq was a seven year old girl living in Birmingham, England who was starved to death by her mother and mother’s boyfriend over a period of 5 months back in 2008.  So why is this story coming up 2 years later?  Because her mother’s plea of manslaughter was accepted, meaning she’s cleared of murder, when all the evidence proves that she deliberately starved Khyra and her five other children.  The saga started in December 2007, when Khyra was pulled from school.  In January, a concerned administrator contacted social services, asking them to check on the child.  They weren’t allowed in the house, didn’t see Khyra, and over the next few weeks, made half-ass attempts to see her, finally declaring that “everything was fine” after seeing her for a brief moment through the doorway.  They never got up close, never talked to her alone.  Even when a neighbor called social services, reporting that Khyra looked “abnormally thin,” they barely made an effort to investigate.  Five weeks later, she was dead.

Clearly, this whole thing was a failure of the system.  In fact, the social systems service claimed that it “was stretched thin and under pressure at the time, and Khyra’s was a ‘one-off’ case.”  Are you f*ing kidding me?  This is a child who you had the opportunity to save if you had just put in a little more effort.  And apparently Khyra wasn’t the only victim of this “pressured” organization: over the previous four years, eight children entrusted to their care had died.

This was also a failure of the justice system.  The reason that Khyra’s mother was able to escape murder charges is that she was “extremely depressed” during the episode, and therefore somehow had “diminished responsibility.”  I think that’s bs.  Yeah, I get that depression is usually the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, but just because you’re depressed doesn’t mean you can deliberately kill your child.  Why didn’t the mother get help?  Why didn’t acquaintances or social services pick up on how “disturbed” she was?  I mean, if she was really depressed enough to supposedly justify murdering the child she was supposed to love, don’t you think there would have been something ‘off’ in her behavior?

But the story gets better as Khyra’s biological father comes into the mix.  Apparently he had up and left England to go live in Spain and hadn’t seen his children in over a year. He came back after the murder ranting about how he had been “let down by the authorities” and threatening “repercussions.”  On the one hand, yes the system failed.  On the other, as a father it was his obligation to take care of his children.  He was alive and healthy, knew very well about his children’s existence, and he had to have known the mother was unbalanced, yet he just left them there with no regard to their physical safety.  He never even tried to check up on them, and now he wants “reparations” for the pain this has caused him.  Pain?  Please.  He doesn’t know pain.  It was his seven year old daughter and her equally maltreated siblings who did.

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